5-year old Maryville girl uses birthday money to help Harvey victims

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A kindergartener from Maryville is joining the ranks of volunteers helping out those hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey.

Every year Ella Russell donates a portion of her birthday money to a worthwhile cause. This year she decided to help buy water for people impacted by the hurricane.

Ella's mother, Jennifer Perkins said she's been trying to teach her daughter to help others when they're in need. Perkins said they were watching television and saw kids impacted by hurricane.

"She started crying because she's very sensitive," remembers Perkins. "She was like 'Mommy, there's water going up everywhere. What can we do?'"

In the next five days, the family posted to social media and asked others to chip-in to help. They made a number of trips to grocery stores, waited in lines, and finally dropped off water at Rio Revolution Church to be sent to Houston, Texas.

"Her $10 turned into about $280 and 146 cases of water," added Perkins.

Now the family is hoping Ella's generosity inspires others and the buck, doesn't stop with her.

"I want the community to remember, yeah, what Ella did was great but let's continue to fight for these people. It's fresh in our minds in two weeks, but where are they going to be in 90, 100 days, to a year," said Perkins.

Starting next Monday, the family plans on collecting diapers, hygiene products, and money to purchase those things, to give to Rio Revolution church. The congregation is also accepting water and diapers. If you'd like to donate, you can drop off items in the back of their church which is located at 3419 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy in Maryville.

Related: Knoxville rescue team helps with rescue efforts in Houston

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