Fourteen year old Alex Emerson is enjoying his summer vacation and, at the same time, making an effort to help Mainers this winter. He is raising money by publishing a newsletter and selling stuffed monkeys to benefit a fund that assists residents of Washington and Hancock counties pay for emergency fuel.
Alex lives in Massachusetts but returns to Brooksville every summer. He first began publishing his weekly newsletter in first grade. “I’m not the kind of kid who just hangs out playing video games all day. I‘d always liked writing and doing stuff on the computer. It is really interesting to me. I got so much positive feedback after the first one I decided to do it again.” The first newsletters were mostly pictures but it’s grown over the years. It now contains articles on local happenings and even a word search. Friends and family send him submissions and he writes much of it himself. Alex charges fifty cents a copy but people often donate more when they know the proceeds are going to a good cause. In the past the money went to cancer research.
This year Alex is donating all the money to “THAW Fund” or “The Heating and Warmth Fund” established by the Washington Hancock Community Agency. The fund helps buy fuel or pay for furnace repairs for people in emergency situations. ”My parents and grandparents had donated to the THAW Fund and I heard about it at conversations at dinner,” says Alex, “I thought it was pretty cool especially since it affected local people. There could be someone around the bay here that receives the money and it will help them through the winter. This is where we come. People want to help because it’s local.”
When his grandmother Linda Emerson heard what Alex was doing she decided to jump in with an idea of her own. She is making stuffed monkeys. All the proceeds made from their sale will also go to the THAW Fund.
In addition to producing the newsletter, Alex is also busy editing a movie he is making. He hasn’t set a specific goal for how much money he’d like to raise for THAW. He says it just makes him happy to do it. “I really like it because I know I’m helping my local community around here. I might ride my bike past the house that is getting an emergency delivery of oil next winter. It just feels good to know I’m helping locally. You feel more connected to it.”