Tyreese Hildebrandt is a 10-year-old who dreams of helping people to have clean drinking water. A while back, Hildebrandt read a book that touched him deeply. Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa that Brought them Together by Herb Shoveller is about a Canadian boy who raised money to dig a well in Uganda and a Ugandan boy who became his friend. After reading the book, Hildebrandt says he felt “sad, because people could get really sick from drinking dirty water.” But he also felt inspired and wanted to raise money, too.
His mother, RaeLynn, persuaded him to begin with a small project. He chose to raise $90 for Mennonite Central Committee toward planting a garden in Guatemala.
But Hildebrandt still wanted to raise money for clean drinking water. When he and his mother took the money for the gardening project to MCC Saskatchewan, executive director Claire Ewert Fisher showed him a video depicting MCC’s sand dam projects in Africa. Hildebrandt learned that $210 would purchase a hand pump to draw water from the ground near a sand dam. He committed to raising enough money for two hand pumps.
For both projects, Hildebrandt baked cookies and muffins, selling them at his brother’s volleyball tournament, at family Easter gatherings, and at his father’s workplace. Eventually, his mother suggested he hold a bake sale at Mount Royal Mennonite Church, where he and his family attend. Betty Unger, a church member who loves to bake, partnered with Hildebrandt to do some of the baking. His grandmother, aunt and several other women also contributed. The sale took place May 3. Hildebrandt sold the leftovers to teachers at school the next day.
He also held a bottle drive and mowed lawns to earn money. With the proceeds from another lawn mowing and a small donation from his parents, Hildebrandt will have earned $1050, enough for not two, but five hand pumps. His dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.