One child can make a difference

Published 11:32 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What kind of difference can one 6-year-old child make? Just ask Parker Duke.

Parker is 12 years old now, but it wasn’t so long ago he was a normal 6-year-old who found out about the ForKids organization and wanted to help.

In the past six years, he has raised an incredible $18,000-plus for the organization. That’s a decent chunk toward the money it needs to build its new Suffolk facility on West Constance Road, which is set to open later this year.

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Parker has also made a five-year commitment to raise an additional $5,000 specifically for the new center, and his hard work and generosity have inspired others. The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation has agreed to match that gift in support of the facility.

The Parker Duke Lemonade Stand raised more than $8,600 this year alone, and he hopes more donations will come in throughout the summer so that he can meet his goal to double last year’s $5,200 total.

“I was very happy,” Parker said this week.

Business was reportedly brisk, but it’s obvious plenty of people paid far more than the usual going price for a cup of the sweet stuff and the delicious cookies that went with it. The donations showed the amazing generosity of this community when there’s a good cause to support.

The amount of money raised during the last six years shows that there’s no limit on what one person — even a very young person — can do if they commit to a cause and go all out to support it. At 6 years old, Parker set a goal to help ForKids, and it’s probably safe to say he has far surpassed anyone’s imagination of how much money this could raise for the organization. Plenty of children and families will be helped by his efforts.

ForKids continues to raise money for its new facility in Suffolk, which will be a base for staff and volunteers assisting families facing homelessness in Suffolk and Western Tidewater. The organization offers assistance to hundreds of families with children daily. Last year, 92 percent of families exited the ForKids program to appropriate housing, breaking the cycle of homelessness.

If you’d like to contribute, visit