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Photo courtesy of Donna Byrnes.
Photo courtesy of Donna Byrnes.
Four-year-old Bryan Rumfelt collections donations for victims of Hurricane Harvey

A local Bay Ridge kid has held fundraisers around the neighborhood for Houston kids affected by Hurricane Harvey and he’s just four years old.

Bryan Rumfelt, a pre-kindergarten student at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Preschool in Bay Ridge, was watching television coverage with his grandmother Donna Byrnes on Friday, September 1, and viewed the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which destroyed hundreds of homes, claimed several lives, and resulted in extreme flooding.

“I felt bad for the children and how all their toys were gone,” he said. “I wanted to bring them new ones.”

“I was in shock,” said Byrnes on her grandson’s reaction. “He was just looking and questioning what was happening. He asked, ‘Where are their toys? Can we bring them toys and put them in their house?’ The sadness on his face for these children was really sincere. He was truly upset for these kids.”

With the help of Byrnes and his parents, Jen and Keith Rumfelt, Bryan took action to help the children of Texas.

He went to the Breezy Point Surf Club and set up a stand selling various snacks with all the money going to Hurricane Harvey victims. Just in one day, he raised $275.

“It felt really awesome,” he said. “I sold chips and other types of snacks.”

“I was so impressed,” added Byrnes. “At Breezy, there is so much to do for kids and he sat at the table instead of playing.”

The second fundraiser took place at Bay Ridge Parkway and Fifth Avenue, where he collected $170. He was also stationed at 77th Street and Fourth Avenue.

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Jaime DeJesus

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Jaime DeJesus

In each outing, there were charming moments.

“One woman said I don’t eat those treats and I did a trick instead,” Bryan said, as he performed a juggling act. The woman ended up donating money.

Bryan’s parents are extremely impressed by his generosity at such a young age.

“We are in awe that at such a young age Bryan has been able to demonstrate such compassion and empathy,” said Jen. “Watching him raise money for the children in Houston has been inspiring and we are so proud of him. He amazes us everyday He’s always been ‘with it’ and shown compassion for others. He loves his toys and couldn’t understand how these kids wouldn’t have toys to play with. He has this way about him that he understands when others are upset and he tries to comfort them.”

She was also amused by his determination to get donations.

“One person said they didn’t have money and I said there’s a bank right here,” said Bryan, followed by a laugh.

We couldn’t believe how much effort he was putting into it,” Jen added. “Even when people said no, he’d come up with something witty to say or do and get them to donate.”

After the success of the local fundraisers, Byrnes decided to started a gofundme page.

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“People were trying to find where Bryan was selling and some were at work or not in the area, so the page gave all of those people the opportunity to contribute to his cause,” said Jen. “We wanted to split the money between two different charities that were strictly doing something for the kids so we chose Pajamas and Books because bedtime is one of our favorite and comforting times for kids, and that charity is donating a book and a pair of pajamas to each child. The other is Save the Children because they were buying toys and creating safe spaces in shelters where they would play and do activities with children.”

So far, the page has raised $1,361 for the two charities.

“I just wanted kids to have new toys,” Bryan said.

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/Bryan-s-Fundraiser-for-Houston-kids.

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