- Associated Press - Sunday, July 6, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - When 10-year-old Quinn Raffo from Craigsville had to go 24 hours without eating for a medical test, she woke up the next morning with a new perspective on life.

With an empty stomach and a full heart, she told her parents she now understood what it was like for unfortunate children who can’t have three meals a day like she does.

That’s when Quinn decided to form Quinn’s Hunger Heroes.

“I thought I should help other people who can’t eat every day like me,” she said.

Using Facebook, a local radio station and word of mouth, Quinn and others spread the world about Hungry Heroes and a car wash she was organizing to benefit the Bread of Life Food Pantry.

This is how Quinn’s neighbor Michael Cox, president of Redi-Care Ambulance, heard about Quinn’s new initiative.

He had recently received a cold water challenge from his cousin and chose Quinn’s Hunger Heroes as his charity of choice.

A cold water challenge happens when someone, generally through Facebook, challenges another person to jump in a cold body of water as well as donate $10 to a charity. The person then has 24 hours to complete this task and if they refuse or can’t accomplish this in the allotted time they must pay $100 to the charity.

“When I first heard about it I knew that I had to get my company involved,” Cox said. “But for me it wasn’t about the money, it was about trying to keep Quinn inspired.”

At work, Cox challenged his co-workers to raise an additional $400 to the $100 that he was going to donate. He promised that if they could raise the money in one week’s time he would let Quinn dunk him in a dunking booth.

With the help of the employees, local hospitals and competing ambulance services, they were able to raise $622.

On the day of the dunking, Cox could not have been prouder to take the icy plunge for a young girl who he said was simply inspirational. Quinn and a few others also took a turn in the dunking both after another round of generous donations.

The car wash was held that same day, and even though lightning cut the extravaganza short, she was able to raise $1,200 for the local food pantry.

“We are just really proud of her and her big heart,” said Stacy Raffo, Quinn’s mother. “We have always tried to teach her the importance of getting involved in the community.”

Quinn said she isn’t sure what is next for her but she hopes to make her car wash a yearly occurrence.

“Everyone should get involved with something,” Stacy Raffo said. “Everyone has time, a talent and a treasure.”

___

Information from: Charleston Daily Mail, http://www.charlestondailymail.com

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