Her Bucket List Delivers Help in Times of Emergency

Daily Point of Light # 6368 Oct 11, 2018
Rebecca and her mother Rachael (R) and friend Lily (left) and Paul, a volunteer for Loaves and Fishes, show off the Life Buckets donated the local food pantry in nearby Devens, MA./ Courtesy Rebecca Fusco

Rebecca Fusco may just be nine years old, but this fourth grader has been volunteering since she could walk. Raised by her mom Rachael and dad Dan to always think of others, she grew up helping, at the local food pantry, with her mom’s Girl Scout troop, at her school.  Now a girl scout herself, Rebecca dreamed up the Life Bucket Movement to educate and prepare families for disaster relief. A Life Bucket is an easily transportable waterproof bucket that contains the materials need to help a family survive for 72 hours in any emergency. She personally contacted companies like Home Depot and Survival Frog for donations, and with her troupe raised $400, which was matched by a $500 donation from United Way, giving her $900 to buy supplies.  So far, Rebecca and her Girl Scout troupe have distributed 100 of these buckets throughout the community, but it’s bigger than that.  Rebecca is also training other community organizations to help their neighbors be prepared when disaster strikes.  Her goal is to inspire other young people to give back.  First on the list is her four-year-old brother Christopher, who is already a seasoned volunteer.

Rebecca is committed to making a difference in her community and she is today’s Daily Point of Light Award honoree. Points of Light spoke with her and her mom Rachael about her commitment to service.

What inspires you to volunteer?

My mom for sure, because ever since I can remember we’ve been doing a monthly service project as a family. I am also inspired by Girl Scouts and by my friends.

Describe your volunteer role.

When our junior Girl Scout troupe decided to do a special project, we thought about what our community needed. There seemed to be a lot of disasters in the news, floods and hurricanes and fires. So preparing for an emergency seemed like a good idea. My role was to research what was needed in an emergency and put a pamphlet and presentation together to teach people how to survive. Then I wrote and called companies to let them know how they could help. We got donations for the materials that I needed to add to the life buckets. I also held an overnight with my Girl Scout troop for girls 5-18 years old to teach them how to survive. I also hosted booths at town events and hosted the town-wide Easter egg hunt with more than 600 participants to raise awareness.  

Rebecca Fusco and her friend Lily Tesz worked together to bring the Life Bucket Project to life.  Here they are at a Littleton town event offering tips on emergency preparedness./ Courtesy Rebecca Fusco

What is in a life bucket?

Good stuff! Everything you need, including long lasting food, emergency blankets, light sticks, matches, fire starters, a multi tool, water purification tablets and a deck of cards for passing the time.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your work? 

Giving people the life buckets at the food pantry for people who may not be able to afford them. The smiles and the good feeling I get from these nice people means so much to me.  It makes me feel very happy.

What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?

I have learned all about emergency preparedness and how to stay mentally strong.  I also learned to work as a team.  I spent a lot of time researching the mental health aspects of surviving an emergency, which was hard at first. But understanding how to keep  your family safe and thrive despite the emergency, how to not freak out, is really important. I also have learned how to speak up to grown ups, to talk in a convincing way to get what I need.

Are there any future partnerships, programs, or events that you are excited about?

I am still looking for more opportunities to train other community groups about the Life Bucket Movement.  I was super proud that my phone call to Survival Frog got them to donate light sticks for our buckets. I am going to continue to try to make partnerships with all kinds of companies.  I was also very proud to speak at the United Way Youth Center Conference. 

Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?  

It is good for everyone and you can learn new things that you didn’t already know. I know I have.

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Rebecca? Visit All for Good for local volunteer opportunities.

Post written by Beth D’Addono

Brenda Solis