A sixth grader from Maryland used her birthday to help Puerto Rico. Dashai Morton opted for donations in lieu of birthday presents so that she could collect 500 cases of water for the U.S. territory still in dire need after Hurricane Maria struck three weeks ago.
“She wanted nothing else. Nothing else. No party, no nothing. This is what she wanted,” said her grandmother, Tanya Morton.
With help from her family and her school, North Forestville Elementary, Morton spearheaded “Project Give Back 500” to get water for residents of on island. The 12-year-old student reached her goal in just two weeks, and also collected non-perishable foods and blankets.
“It makes me happy because I can help other people who don’t have what I have,” Morton, whose birthday was Tuesday (Oct. 10) told Washington D.C.’s ABC affiliate WJLA.
Now that she passed the 500 mark, Morton plans to continue collecting water and canned foods through the end of October.
Morton’s school is working with Red Cross to coordinate getting the supplies to the U.S. territory. However, the Red Cross has long been criticized for its disaster relief efforts and inability to prove how much of donated funds are allocated to those in need.