ROANOKE, Va. – In some ways, 10-year-old Tyler Hettig is just like any other kid his age during the COVID-19 outbreak: home-schooling, playing video games, and getting outside when he can.
Except for one.
“I raised $500 for the homeless,” said Tyler.
To be exact, Tyler raised $545.
His dad, Heath Hettig, said that helping the homeless is a cause Tyler has always cared about.
"He’s seen them on the side of the street and just said, ‘Dad, I feel bad for them. I wish I could do something,'” Heath said.
At the end of March, Tyler got the idea to stand outside his Roanoke home and hold up a sign asking for donations to help the homeless.
Due to the coronavirus, Heath suggested they post the fundraiser on Facebook instead. Next thing they knew, donations came pouring in.
“Within, I think, two weeks, he already met his goal,” Heath said. "And then we have family members still sending in checks from all over.”
All the money raised is going to the Roanoke Rescue Mission to buy things like food, hand sanitizer or diapers. CEO Lee Clark said that what Tyler is doing is what heroes do.
“Stories like this one just show us that when we put our hearts in the right place, we can have a tremendous impact and a positive impact on other people’s lives," Clark said.
With so much negativity in the world, Heath said he couldn’t be more proud of his son.
“Just to see a little kid rise above all that and try to help people, even with so much fear, and you don’t know what you’re going to wake up to the next day,” said Heath, "It makes me really proud and happy.”
“I feel great,” said Tyler. "I’m happy at myself.”
Tyler is still raising money through the end of April and said he wants to do a fundraiser like this every year. Next year, he wants to help homeless children.