ONE SPECIAL DELIVERY
Teen’s project to feed families highlighted by GoFundMe
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. » Years ago, TJ Tracy began efforts to ensure local families had dinner during the holiday season as a 9-year-old boy. Now, GoFundMe has recognized the Saratoga Springs native’s ongoing initiative, naming him a Kid Hero, which means his fundraiser will be highlighted by the crowdfunding website.
TJ’s mom Beverly Tracy received the e-mail below from Nicole at GoFundMe:
“We absolutely love TJ’s campaign, to raise funds to make the holidays special for those in need. It’s inspiring to see children who are making a positive difference in the world, and the parents who help them do it. This holiday season, GoFundMe is featuring kid heroes like yours, and we’d love for TJ to take part. Campaigns that take part in GoFundMe Kid Heroes will be featured on a special homepage, will be eligible for exciting donation giveaways, and, we’ll be featuring Kid Heroes campaigns on our social media feeds daily.”
It all began with a conversation with his mother about families in need. In 2009, TJ helped raise more than $200. From there, it has grown into something TJ cannot believe.
“When I first started when I was nine, I really just wanted to make a difference, I wanted to help out those in need,” Tracy said. “The first year it felt great to give back to those families and to give back to the community and to help others, and every single year my mom would
“I just want kids to know that just because you’re a kid doesn’t mean you can’t do what you’re passionate about and make a difference in the world.” — TJ Tracy
always ask me, ‘so TJ want to do this again this year,’ and I was always ‘yes, of course, we got to do it again.’ Over the years it has just grown so much and it’s just incredible what it has to turned into. With the generosity of the community and our local teenage community to be able to help out so much, it’s just incredible what we’ve been able to turn TJ’s Turkeys into. With a chance to involve other kids to give back to their community.”
It’s evolved into a teenage community service organization that meets regularly. Dozens of Saratoga Springs students delivered Thanksgiving meals Monday to Franklin Community Center.
Two family outreach coordinators for Project Lift families showed the volunteers where to place the bags filled with Thanksgiving meal items Monday afternoon.
“We wouldn’t be able to provide meals for these families without their support,” Chloe Williams said. “This is how these families get Thanksgiving meals.”
Franklin Community Center has 120 families as part of Project Lift which includes all six elementary schools in Saratoga Springs.
“We’ve seen TJ’s Turkeys do these for the last few years, and it’s really made a huge impact,” said Stephany Deuel. “There’s no way we’d be able to provide all of this for our families without them. It’s huge.”
TJ’s Turkeys mission is to provide families in need with support during Thanksgiving, Christmas and throughout the year.
Some of the core members of TJ’S Turkeys have been TJ’s friends since he was nine, and some have joined along the way.
“It’s great to get more and more kids involved,” said Tracy. “This year we’ve started an after school organization, so that’s gotten even more kids involved.”
Tracy said he’s thrilled and honored to be chosen as a kid hero, but really he just thinks that taking care of others is the right thing to do, in a press release.
“I just want kids to know that just because you’re a kid doesn’t mean you can’t do what you’re passionate about and make a difference in the world,” said Tracy.
Since 2009, TJ has raised over $50,000. The goal for this year is $18,000.
TJ Tracy came up with TJ’s Turkeys at age nine.
TJ’s Turkeys provided meals to give to Project Lift families at Franklin Community Center Monday in Saratoga Springs.
One hundred-twenty families will be given Thanksgiving meals as part of Project Lift at the Franklin Community Center in Saratoga Springs.