An Offaly schoolgirl has raised thousands for the homeless over the past four years - and she is only 10-years-old.
Lexie Delaney was only seven when she noticed a homeless man in Dublin city center and began asking her mother questions.
“It was my birthday and we were in Grafton Street in Dublin. Lexie spotted this young lad on the ground sitting beside the bin and asked me ‘why is he sitting there?’” said Lexie’s mother, Lillian told RSVP Live.
“I didn’t want to tell her too much because she was only seven, so I just simply said ‘he’s homeless’, but she kept asking where his mam and dad was.
"We ended up going into Burger King and she bought him food and brought it out to him.
“The whole way home in the car she was so quiet and I knew she was thinking about him.”
“About two weeks after that Lexie was lucky enough to win €300 in the Lotto and told me she wanted to buy some things for the homeless.
“A girl I know works for Inner City Helping Homeless. About once a month I would buy things like toiletries and give it to her anyway so when Lexie wanted to start donating things herself we brought it up to my friend.”
Lexie then donated most of her Communion money and began holding yard sales to raise money for homeless charities, The Irish Mirror reports.
Two years ago she asked her school, Scoil Bhríde in Edenderry, to help.
“Her principal was only delighted to help her out. He sent a note home to all of the parents and the pupils brought in bits like socks and toothpaste, which Inner City Helping Homeless collected,” Lillian said.
For three years, Lexie has collected toys, candy and selection boxes for the North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis, which holds a Christmas party every year for children in emergency accommodation.
Lexie has also donated to Dublin Homeless Awareness, Feed Our Homeless, and the Ken Smollen Food Appeal.
“She knows all of the statistics, she knows there are over 10,000 people on the streets and in emergency accommodation,” said Lillian.
"At the moment she’s in the middle of writing a letter to Michael D. Higgins to highlight all of this.”
This summer, Lexie’s parents helped her set up an online fundraiser named Lexie’s Homeless Appeal, an idea which came about after Derek, Lexie’s father, was looking for somewhere to donate the proceedings of his own annual charity event.
“My husband hosts a harness racing weekend every August named the Vincent Delaney Memorial in memory of his brother who died aged 27,” said Lillian.
“Every year my husband gives money raised from it to charity. This year Lexie asked could she be the charity, so we started Lexie’s Homeless Appeal.
“Over the two days the event was on she raised more than €700 just in buckets. A lot more people wanted to donate, so I decided to set up an online fundraiser on Facebook and over three days it raised over €1,300. So far, there’s €3,000 raised to be spent on the homeless.”
Lillian and Derek are extremely proud of their daughter, whose efforts for the homeless have not gone unnoticed. Lexie has won awards for her fundraising and was invited to the Mansion House to meet the Lord Mayor of Dublin, reports The Irish Mirror.
"It makes me so proud seeing how thoughtful and selfless she is. If she knows how she can put a smile on someone’s face, that makes her happy,” said Lillian.