Queens teen supports Haitian orphans

Jake Federicksen (r.) enlists the help of his friend Thomas Papp (l.) and his father Gary Fredericksen during his car wash at Martin Luther High School Saturday. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Rebecca Henely

When Christ Church Woodside began its mission to build an orphanage near Tamavo in the Dominican Republic for those who had been orphaned in the Jan. 12 Haitian earthquake, parishioner Donna Frederickson said her son noticed something missing from the pictures of the refugees.

“He saw the pictures and saw they had nothing to play with,” she said.

Jake, 17, remembers it a little differently and said instead it was his pastor, Rev. Joshua Hollmann, who suggested he send down sports equipment.

At any rate, the orphans loved the first toys that were sent down. So Jake, who wants to be an Eagle Scout, decided to send down more as part of his Eagle Project, an extensive humanitarian undertaking that requires 50 hours of work and approval of the troop leaders.

“I realized I could do more and send down tons more equipment,” Jake said.

Donna said many donated equipment to Jake’s cause: members of Martin Luther High School from which Jake recently graduated, neighbors, family and friends. Jake also asked family and friends to donate sporting equipment in lieu of graduation gifts.

She said some of the equipment donated included bats, baseballs, soccer balls, baseball mitts, tennis rackets, tennis balls, badminton equipment, chest protectors and face masks.

However, to send the equipment to the Dominican Republic, Jake needed to buy 55-gallon shipping barrels, each of which cost about $150 to send to the island nation.

“[Our church] has already sent down barrels of needed food and medical supplies,” Donna said.

So to pay for them, Jake held two car washes, one at Christ Church on May 29, the other at Martin Luther HS on June 19. Jake said the car washes earned more than $230 and $170, respectively.

He said it was a good way to raise money while also getting his Boy Scout Troop 1 of Flushing involved.

“It gets the kids active. It’s fun. It was a way I could collect a lot of money and also get some equipment,” Jake said.

The Fredericksons charged $7 per car, $5 if they donated usable sports equipment at the car wash. However, many insisted on giving more.

“A lot of people were very generous with their donation,” Frederickson said. “They’d give a $10 or $20.”

She said the money raised that has not been spent on the barrels will be spent on air pumps, as the balls need to be deflated before transport, and other food and medical supplies.

“Hopefully, it’ll be out and to them by August,” Jake said.

The mission to build an orphanage in the Dominican Republic is still ongoing, and Frederickson said Hollmann recently purchased the land for the facility.

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