How an 11-year-old boy has become the face of GivingTuesday on P.E.I.

Samuel Webster, from Stratford, P.E.I., is doing his part for this year's GivingTuesday campaign, part of a global charity movement that takes place each year after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

'It's really important to me because my dad really liked donating and my grandparents donate a lot'

Samuel Webster holds one of the MP3 players he has collected for this year's P.E.I. Gives campaign. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

When Samuel Webster heard about a new group called P.E.I. Gives last year, he went upstairs to his room and got his piggy bank.

He was the first person to make a donation to the Island organization, part of the global GivingTuesday movement.

"I thought it was a really good idea," Webster said.

"Because the way we are today, everybody's trying to get stuff and you forget about giving, especially to people who are less fortunate."

GivingTuesday started in 2012 as a global movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

P.E.I. Gives was launched in 2018, inspired by GivingTuesday, made up of groups and individuals across Prince Edward Island focused on acts of kindness. 

Samuel Webster is front and centre at the launch of the 2019 P.E.I. Gives campaign. (P.E.I. Gives/Facebook)

The $15 from Samuel's piggy bank went to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, toward a new CT scanner.

Donating to the hospital made sense, as Samuel's father passed away there, five years ago.

"He saw the care that his dad had while he was there and I'm thinking that's one of the reasons why he's always looking to give back," said Samuel's mother, Sandra Webster, who also worked at the QEH Foundation when Samuel was younger.

"He saw the response of everybody helping us during that time and I think some of that comes from that, where he wants to help people now."

Samuel Webster holds the $15 from his piggy bank that he donated in 2018 to the first P.E.I. Gives campaign. (Sandra Webster/Facebook)

Samuel, 11, agrees that he has a very personal reason for his fundraising. 

"It's really important to me because my dad really liked donating and my grandparents donate a lot," Samuel said.

"So I think I should carry on the tradition."

'Make them happier'

Samuel is part of GivingTuesday again this year, looking to collect 10 iPod or MP3 players, to donate to patients with dementia.

"Seeing a recent story about collecting old iPods and giving them to seniors in a nursing home to enjoy their music seemed like a perfect way to involve Sam again this year and help explain what GivingTuesday is about," said Helen Chapman, P.E.I.'s GivingTuesday spokesperson.

"We reached out to the Prince Edward Home and they were pleased to be the recipient of Sam's project of giving them 10 iPods." 

Sandra Webster says her son has always had a 'soft spot' for helping others. (Sandra Webster/Facebook)

Samuel immediately jumped on board.

"I thought it was a great idea and I thought it would make a really big difference at the home," he said. 

"There's been studies showing that MP3 players and them listening to music can really bring them back to old times, make them happier."

Lemonade stand fundraiser

And it's not just GivingTuesday that gets Samuel's fundraising energies.

He also had a lemonade stand this fall that raised $150 for one of his mother's co-workers, who lost her home and belongings in a fire in September.

Samuel helped to launch P.E.I. Gives in 2018, including a visit to the premier's office. (P.E.I. Gives/Facebook)

Samuel hopes he is a positive example for others.

"I hope they think that it's great to start at an early age," Samuel said.

 "It's a nice feeling when you're giving to something."

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Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water or in the gym rowing, or walking her dog.