Girl sells cocoa, raises $1,800 for Syrian refugees on her 7th birthday

Rather than unwrapping presents and eating cake, an Ontario girl spent her seventh birthday selling hot chocolate to raise money for Syrian refugees.

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Abigail MacDonald set up shop at the end of her driveway in Paris, Ont., doling out generous scoops of marshmallows into steaming cups of cocoa for the makeshift fundraiser.

In a single day, the youngster’s “Hot Chocolate for Hope” drive collected $1,800 in donations.

“Their land is getting bombed and stuff and they need help,” Abigail told CTV Kitchener.

Her sister Mikayla added: “We’ve already gotten a lot of people come, so we’re very happy.”

Abigail got the idea after overhearing her parents “emotionally talking” about the plight of Syrian refugees, her mother said.

So, in the days before her birthday, Abigail and her family went door-to-door around town, handing out invitations for the occasion.

The cocoa funds will be put toward a larger drive organized by St. Paul’s United Church, which aims to raise $30,000 for a Syrian family to move to Paris.

“The government has said you need about $22,000 to sponsor a family, and the committee wants to raise $30,000 so they can have a family of six of more,” said her father, Alex MacDonald.

The hot chocolate drive also accepted larger donations, with donors who offer more than $20 getting a tax receipt.

The fundraiser comes as the first planeloads of Syrian refugees arrive in Canada, with hundreds landing in Toronto and Montreal before they move to communities across the country.

With files from CTV Kitchener


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