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Hudsonville first-grader gets creative raising money for kids having heart surgery

Sam Triemstra, 7, has gone above and beyond to raise over $190 for the American Heart Association's annual Kids Heart Challenge fundraiser
Hudsonville Heart Can Collection
Posted at 4:03 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 10:58:18-05

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — A West Michigan elementary school student went above and beyond in his efforts to raise money for kids born with heart issues, as part of the Kids Heart Challenge, a fundraising program put on by the American Heart Association.

First-grader Sam Triemstra has so far raised $191.50 by collecting pop cans from his neighbors and returning them for cash.

Triemstra first learned about the Kids Heart Challenge in his P.E. class at Georgetown Elementary in Hudsonville. The fundraiser is put on annually by the American Heart Association.

Sam first heard about the challenge in his P.E. class last week.

“Once I heard some kids had a bunch of heart surgeries, I would just want to help them,” the 7-year-old told FOX 17 Thursday morning.

It was a cause that really hit home for the Triemstra family.

"We have several families that we know, recently that have been affected by their children having heart surgeries," his mom Erin said. “It seemed like he was, you know, very affected by it, and really wanted to figure out a way to help others, and so we kind of brainstormed.”

Sam landed on the idea of collecting empty soda pop cans to raise money, so the family put out a call in a community Facebook group Erin is part of.

Sam Triemstra Facebook Call web pic
The original call for empty cans the family posted to a community Facebook group

“We decided to put it on there, and reach out, and we had some very generous neighbors," Erin explained.

They ended up nearly filling their family car with trash bags full of empty cans.

“We got over 1,000 of them,” Sam told FOX 17 on Thursday.

With all of the cans collected, and the small cash donations from Sam and a handful of neighbors, the first-grader was able to raise $191.50 for the Kids Heart Challenge.

“Sam exemplifies what it means to be an Eagle,” said Stephanie Fast, the public relations manager for the Hudsonville School district. "It's part of the district's mission to inspire our students to become responsible, contributing members of a global society, and Sam really showed that when he went above and beyond to make sure that his donation could be as impactful as possible.”

Sam Triemstra Collecting Cans
The Triemstra Family car full of empty soda pop cans

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