PORT RICHEY — Images from Haiti made their way into the home of 8-year-old Ashley Barratt, who couldn't keep her eyes off the TV.
"There was this little girl stuck under a building for three days," Ashley said. "They could get her arms out, but her legs were stuck. They finally got her out, but she died the next day."
That made her feel sad, Ashley said. But when her mom changed the channel because she worried that the news from Haiti was too upsetting, Ashley told her to switch it back.
Then she decided she wanted to raise some money for the Red Cross, "for water tablets, because their water is bad, and to save people from dying and stuff."
After brainstorming with her mom, the two figured that collecting at the car loop at Dayspring Academy, where Ashley is in third grade, seemed like a good bet.
Ashley made a poster and decorated a plastic coffee container. The usually soft-spoken girl went on the news to promote her cause, and over four days collected $386.26 from parents, students and the crossing guards. That amount was matched by a donation from her parents' business, Florida Luxury Realty.
"It made me feel good to help," Ashley said, noting that following her lead, fifth-grade students are now conducting their own drive.