A New Jersey teenager wants to give back to the men and women who fought for the country. He’s helping homeless veterans by raising a massive amount of money on his own. In total, he raised $12,000 to help the vets.
Michael Ferrara, a New Jersey teen, became passionate about helping veterans after coming across a social media challenge. The Houses for Warriors nonprofit created a challenge to raise awareness about veteran suicide and at-risk veterans that are homeless. It encouraged people to perform push-ups to raise awareness.
The challenge was eye-opening for Ferrara who decided to help homeless veterans. He spoke with Fox News about raising funds for vets.
“I think that’s absolutely unacceptable,” Ferrara said. The teen dedicated his run in the Marine Corps Marathon to the Houses for Warriors charity.
He reached out to everyone he knew asking for donations for the race. “I felt like I was earning my donations rather than just asking for money,” he said.
Via this method, Ferrara raised more than $10,000. He also raised another $1,164 through fundraisers at his school as well. With the money, the New Jersey teen helped the organization open its first group home for veterans in Colorado.
New Jersey Teen Helps Homeless Veterans
A total of nine homeless veterans will no longer have to live on the streets. Instead, they will have a warm bed and a place to stay, thanks to the high-schooler. Ferrara helped people across the country that he never even met before.
“I decided to raise money for a Colorado nonprofit living in New Jersey because a homeless veteran is a homeless veteran,” he said. “Our veterans have fought for all 50 states, not just one. So, I feel it would be wrong of me to not raise money for homeless veterans just because they happen to live in a different state.”
Houses for Warriors was helping veterans find local shelters to spend the night. But with Ferrara’s donation, they were able to eliminate that process and instead build a group home. Houses for Warriors CEO Andrew Canales thanked the New Jersey teen for his support.
“Shelters don’t provide the safe and caring environment that our warriors deserve to get back on their feet,” Canales told Fox News. He also said that shelters could be harmful for veterans’ mental health as well. ‘[The shelters have] constant open drug use, higher encounters with violent and aggressive individuals with severe mental health issues, the constant risk of theft and their personal property being stolen.”
As for Ferra, he isn’t done helping veterans yet. Instead, it’s a passion he’ll probably carry for the rest of his life as a result.
“I’ve always looked up to our veterans, the people that have served our country, because they’re out there every single day, they’re going to put their lives on the line,” Ferrara said. “I have a great respect for the people who are willing to and have sacrificed everything to serve our country and to keep America free. ”