Mission Accomplished: 6-year-old boy donates several carloads of pillows to homeless center

6-year-old Joey Ratzan collects pillows for those in need. (Sara Ratzan)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Enveloped by clouds of fluffy pillows, 6-year-old Joey Ratzan was ready to get them to a special place.

With his mom, Sara, behind the wheel, and other volunteer drivers following closely behind, today, Joey delivered 110 of this much needed item to Chapman Partnership in Homestead.

The staff at the nonprofit, which provides programs and services to overcome homelessness, awaited him with much gratitude.

“How many people do you think live here?” asked Wendy Viciana, Chapman’s director of events and strategic initiatives.

A surprised Joey waited for the answer when Viciana kindly responded, “Three hundred men, women and children live here.”

With energy and enthusiasm, Joey started unloading the pillows, enlisting the help of his older sister, Molly.

One-by-one, the two placed the pillows inside wheeled carts, all 110 of them.

Pillows collected by 6-year-old Joey Ratzan. (Sara Ratzan)

Afterward, the staff took them on a tour of the center, where they got to meet some of the families.

Joey’s community service began with a question.

He asked his mom why there were some people who didn’t have homes. After his mom provided a thoughtful answer, understandable to a kindergartener, Joey peppered her with more questions.

“Where do they sleep at night?”  “Why don’t they have beds?”

When his mom further explained, Joey decided to make life better for the homeless. He wanted to collect new pillows.

His mom Sara, who works at Local 10 NEWS, asked a co-worker to put her in touch with Chapman Partnership.

In the days ahead, the pillows started pouring in.

Joey’s mom and dad bought the first few. Family members came through with dozens more. Friends of the family sent money through cash apps. Local 10 News’ employees donated, too.

Several shopping trips later, pillows filled the living room of the family’s home, and all of this generosity filled Joey’s mind with thoughts of the next project.

“The next thing I’m going to give them is a blanket,” Joey said to Viciana.

We know he will get it done.

May we all take a lesson in giving from a pint size philanthropist.


About the Author:

Mayte Padron Cordones is an Emmy-award winning journalist and the director of WPLG's Community Relations Department, overseeing the station's outreach initiatives to benefit and strengthen the South Florida community.