By Marisa Religa
Niagara Gazette —
At this of year, many children are beginning to put together their holiday wish lists.
Christopher Quiros is busy compiling a list of things he would like to give to others.
The 9-year-old Niagara Falls boy is the driving force behind ‘Project C.J. Cares,’ an effort designed to directly aid in the relief effort of Hurricane Sandy’s extensive damage that left most of the Northeast in need.
“When I grow up I want to be somebody that could help everybody and try to make change in the world,” he said recently, explaining his motivation.
Arialle Quiros, Christopher's mom and a New York City native, recalls the evening she and her son sat together in front of the television and watched local news coverage of the Sandy aftermath.
“I could see right away Christopher was upset about what these people were going through," she said. "We have family — aunts, uncles, and cousins — living between NYC and New Jersey so it hit close to home," she said.
“I saw a man on the news with his four kids. He lost his wife and his entire home," Christopher said. "He was asking for donations. This made me really sad and I wanted to help him.”
Christopher quickly began sorting through his clothes and toys for donation. He then began to reach out to his friends and people at church to see if they had any items that could be valuable to those hit by the hurricane. He even began to use his own allowance money to purchase personal hygiene items and nonperishable food to donate.
“When I gave him his monthly allowance he asked me to bring him to the store," Arialle said. "I figured he wanted to buy a new toy but he told me he wanted to buy goods for the hurricane victims. I was so proud of him that I told him I’d match every dollar he spent so we could get people things they could truly use after this disaster."
This deep compassion for others is not something new for Christopher, according to his mother. Each year, the family puts together gift baskets filled with toys, books and clothes to donate to less fortunate families during the holidays.
“I try to teach my children that it’s better to give than to receive,” she said. “Christopher is spreading the word out loud to his brothers, friends and others around him that this is what’s important in life.”
When close family friend Erika Williams of Niagara Falls heard of Christopher’s newest endeavor to help the hurricane victims she was not at all surprised.
“He’s always had a big heart and has been very giving. This generosity coming from a child that’s so young is amazing. He’s a special young man and he’s going to keep on doing special things in his lifetime,” she said.
“Christopher has a birthday coming up and for his party he’s made a very adamant point that he does not want to receive any gifts. Instead, he has requested that people bring donations to help support Project C.J. Cares and the families in need,” she said.
The family is collecting any donations that can help those affected by the hurricane to have a smoother transition back to a sense of normalcy. With the help of his family, Christopher is patiently waiting for a means to ship these goods to the northeast.
“No matter how long it takes for us to get donations to these people we’ll do it," Arialle said. "I want my son to believe in what he’s doing and know that it’s something good. We’re not going to give up."
For more information on how to donate, contact the Quiros family at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/christopherquiros.