Brandon's Best

Pokemon Pal
Posted on 10/16/2017
Selfless Little Wildcat!


Our Brandon sells Pokémon  card collection to help disaster areas

Andrew Martins, Managing EditorBrandon

An eight-year-old with a penchant for Pokémon cards has given up his hobby and sold his collection to help the millions in Puerto Rico and Mexico affected by hurricanes last month.

Brandon Bender, born roughly 13 years after the Japanese franchise became a household name, said he made the decision to cut ties with his hobby for the greater good after learning about the destructive force of both Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria while coming back from a family trip to Boston.

“When we came back, I was going to my grandma’s house a few times and on the TV it showed the hurricanes,” he said. “I was like, ‘Instead of keeping the money for myself, I can give it to the disasters that are happening.'”

According to Brandon’s dad, Billy Bender, the socially conscious child had been thinking of selling his collection, as well as some of this other personal items, for some time in an effort to earn some spending money for himself.

Seeing this as a potential teaching opportunity, Billy said he and his wife decided to instill the idea of donating a portion of any proposed allowance to charity. When Brandon came up with the idea of selling his Pokémon cards to help those in need thousands of miles away, the Hillsborough man said it was “a very proud moment” for him and his wife.

“I think it was a combination of our conversations with our kids about making sure that there’s people that need help and him putting two and two together and realizing this was something that he could do,” Billy said. “It was a very proud moment to know that the various discussions you’ve had over the years really stuck.”

In order to raise the money, the Benders decided to sell the collection on eBay. When the auction ended on Saturday, the entire collection went for $31 and was sold to another individual from Hillsborough. After reaching out to the buyer, Billy said he was able to work it out with them that the additional $10 in shipping costs would also go to Brandon’s donation efforts. In addition to the charity, Billy said another Pokémon collector in California followed suit, selling that collection for $65 and adding it to Brandon’s donation.

Proud with their son’s accomplishment, Billy said he and his wife then matched the total amount raised and another friend added an additional $31 to the pot. By the end of it all, Brandon’s $31 ended up being $243.

“I feel really good and I feel like [everyone] really tried to help me with this,” Brandon said.

Since collecting the funds, Billy said $37 has been spent on supplies to be shipped over in a shipping container to Puerto Rico, $96 was sent to United for Puerto Rico and another $100 was sent to the Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund on GlobalGiving.

With his first taste of fundraising in the books, Brandon said he would be interested in helping out again “if there’s another disaster somewhere.”

“Even if you like something, you can use them to help other people and the things you like are not as important as other people,” he said.


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