Janesville birthday bash benefit to help children worldwide
IF YOU GO
What: The Chandler & Friends Birthday Bash Benefit
When: Noon-6 p.m. Saturday, June 11.
Where: Afton Pub & Park, County D, Afton.
Admission: $2 each for those 10 and older
Seeing death and destruction in other parts of the world often helps you recognize the good things in your life.
Chandler Bergren sees it. That’s why the Janesville 8-year-old is establishing Chandler & Friends to help children around the world who are victims of natural disasters.
“It hurts him so much to know there are children suffering from these horrible acts of nature and he wants them to know he cares and will help in any way he can,’’ said Chandler’s mother, Shawna Friend.
So instead of having a birthday party for himself, the Kennedy Elementary School second-grader will host the Chandler & Friends Birthday Bash Benefit on Saturday, June 11, at Afton Pub & Park. The event will raise money for Save the Children, which supports the Japan Earthquake Tsunami Relief Fund, and the Southern U.S. Tornado Children in Emergency Fund.
In March, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake centered near Japan’s east coast killed hundreds of people. The event resulted in 30-foot walls of water that swept across rice fields, engulfed entire towns, dragged houses onto highways and tossed cars and boats like toys.
Some waves reached as far as six miles inland.
Then in April tornadoes ripped through the southern United States. Death tolls exceeded 220 with more than 100 killed in Alabama alone. Money from Chandler’s benefit event also will help buy care package supplies that will be sent to children affected there.
“We’re thinking of maybe comfort things like stuffed animals, coloring books, books and toys for various ages,” Friend said. “Maybe some T-shirts and toiletry supplies that are child-appropriate.”
For those attending, the June 11 event will feature food, games, entertainment, prize raffles, activities for children, vendor and craft booths, plus Chandler singing karaoke.
“I’m willing to sing because it really hurts my feelings to see those kids suffer,’’ said Chandler, who explained he’s made public appearances in school plays.
Donations of food, beverages, paper products and children’s game prizes are being sought along with financial contributions to help pay costs for sending care packages.
The first day the storms happened in Japan, Chandler said he was really sad because he has cousins who live there. Now he’s happy knowing the benefit is coming together.
“When the benefit is done I’d like to fly to Japan or Alabama to see what happened,’’ Chandler said.
Chandler is seriously considering making this benefit an annual tradition.
“For every birthday,” he said, “I think I’m going to do a benefit instead of throwing a party (for myself) for the rest of my life.’’