At the age of nine, Jamie Ridgley became very concerned about children that did not have enough to eat. One day she got out her wagon and pushed it down her street collecting canned goods from neighbors. She expanded her food drive by collecting at school and sitting outside stores. Now she is almost 14 years old and is still finding many ways to help needy children.
Over the years, Jamie has collected food, warm clothing, school supplies and new toys at Christmas for these children. Additionally, she has held several raffles to raise money to buy food and milk for the local food bank. Some of the raffles include hard to find toys at Christmas, an autographed baseball card that was donated to her by Cal Ripken, Jr., and a lithograph that actor Tim Allen signed for her while he was in Carroll County, MD, making a movie.
Each charity drive that she organizes, she tries to get children of different ages in the community to help. Elementary schools help Jamie by posting what she is doing in their PTA notes. The town of Manchester helps her by advertising and being a collection point for proceeds. Jamie named her organization "Helpful Hands." Every child that helps her with at least one charity drive gets their name added to the list of Helpful Hands. She also motivates children to help by giving out decals and pins imprinted with her organization's name.
Last year she expanded her organization by offering help for the elderly. Children in her organization made 109 homemade Christmas cards and Jamie raised enough money to buy 109 Christmas gifts. She organized the cub scouts and members of Helpful Hands to put together a Christmas Show at a local nursing home. Jamie was pleased with the success of the program because the children enjoyed doing it just as much as the elderly enjoyed it. All of the children asked to help again this year. After Christmas, Jamie continued her efforts by collecting used suitcases for foster children in Carroll County.