ABC 7: Girl, 5, raises $208 for Chicago homeless organization

Peninah at her hot cider stand.
Peninah at her hot cider stand.

By Leah Hope

A 5-year-old girl saved some of her chores money and this week delivered a jar with $208 cash to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, making her the organization’s youngest donor.

Peninah Feldman is a kindergartener at Chicago’s National Teacher’s Academy, where students learn about social justice and helping others.

A year ago, she came to understand that not everyone had a home, seeing people in tents and sad that they didn’t have a house.

“Her eyes have been opened at a young age. I think that homelessness in this city is not so hidden,” said Peninah’s mother, Anika Matthews-Feldman.

She told her mom that she wanted to donate some of her chores money to the homeless. She also added proceeds from her weekend hot cider stand to the total.

On Giving Tuesday, the charitable young girl inspires the spirit of the season.

“It was amazing. It was just fantastic to have someone so young care so much,” said Doug Schenkelberg, of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.


The coalition and other non-profits look to private citizens to give what they can.

“That little bit is added to the $10 donation we get online, to the foundation that is nice enough to give us a grant. It all adds up,” Schenkelberg said.

And donations are important now more than ever.

“We’re living in a state where government funding is diminished greatly and nonexistent in some cases,” sad Kathleen Murphy, of Forefront.

Peninah, the young philanthropist, may not fully understand why her fundraiser got so much attention. But she hopes other kids might consider what they can do.

For now, helping the homeless is her philanthropy.

When asked what she wants, she said “to give them houses and things I have.”

“I just want her to be proud of her efforts and continue on,” her mother said.

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