Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gwyneth’s Story

Ten-year-old Gwyneth Cartwright’s $2 bracelets made of pop tabs have raised more than $300 to help people who have been affected by disasters.
Photo courtesy Gwyneth Cartwright

My name is Gwyneth Cartwright, and I’m 10 years old. I live in Hurricane, West Virginia, and attend St. Andrew UMC in St. Albans, WV. For about the last three months, I have been selling pop-tab bracelets through my church to help raise money for UMCOR. I have, so far, raised over $300 with these $2 bracelets that are made from pop tabs and various colors and types of ribbon. One bracelet takes ten to fifteen minutes to complete, and they are fun to make.

A fellow member of our church, who I’ve always liked a lot, stood in front of the congregation one Sunday and talked about UMCOR. He asked everyone to search their hearts for a way we could help. He also mentioned how he was going to raise money by asking for sponsors for a bike ride. I immediately knew I wanted to help, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I went to him after church and told him I’d let him know.

One day, it just hit me! I’d make the bracelets we had made at school as part of an Earth Day and recycling project. My mom set an email to Tim (the man who stood up in church), and I was in business. I made a few bracelets as samples and I got up during announcements in Sunday worship and asked for pop tabs. After a little while, I had over four pounds of pop tabs and lots of people asking for bracelets. And the tabs are still pouring in!

My mom and I have been enjoying this project. She helps a lot! I continue to make bracelets because I keep getting orders AND for the cause. I feel that UMCOR is an organization worthy of my time because I feel badly for people who have been hit by disaster. I saw images on TV of people after hurricane Katrina hit, and the looks on their faces broke my heart. I felt helpless. I told my mom that we had to help them. I was five or six years old then, and Mom told me about UMCOR I raised money at a lemonade stand and took it to church. I knew that UMCOR would put that $60 to good use. I also raised small amounts of money for tsunami victims and for the earthquake in Japan. Hopefully, this project can help for a longer period of time because I’ll continue until no one else wants a bracelet!

UMCOR can be where I can’t be. I’m only ten years old, after all, and in the fifth grade. Homework and activities keep me busy! I’m unable to physically go and help people hit with disasters. However, I can spend a few minutes here and there to help others be there and be hope for families, perhaps a lot like mine, whose hope has been shattered.

Gwyneth Cartwright


  1. Gwyneth,

    That's a terrific thing you are doing. keep thinking creatively and compassionately. The world is already a better place because you've been in it a short time. Think how much you'll do in a lifetime! Thank you so much for this witness.

    I'll share your story with the kids in my children's church class. Maybe you'll motivate them to do something, too!

    Broadway UMC
    Chicago, IL

  2. So glad we were able to help by buying a couple of bracelets from you! Thanks for doing such a wonderful thing for other people! We miss you!