After a young boy’s woodworking project went viral, he seized on his new internet following to raise money—not for himself—but for the children of Ukraine.
The power of a viral social media post never ceases to astound. When Gabriel Clarkie’s proud dad tweeted a link to his son’s hobby, carving wooden bowls and posting them for sale on Instagram, it went viral—and his Insta followers jumped from 6 to 227,000 in just 48 hours.
Lovely twitter people – I don’t know how many of you are also #instagram users but I’m looking for a wee favour. I’ve a 12yr old who loves woodwork. He spends hours on his lathe making bowls and creating chopping boards which he’s sells to save up for a mountain bike. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/Ny60rFf1TE
— Richard R Clark 🇺🇦 (@rclarkie) March 25, 2022
Rather than fulfilling the 20,000 requests for wooden bowls, Clarkie Woodwork—who lives in Cumbria in northern England—announced he would make one single bowl, Gabriel’s Bowl For Ukraine, to be given out in a lottery to anyone who makes a donation to Save The Children Ukraine.
Virality struck once again, and a $6,260 (£5,000) appeal turned into $313,000 (£250,000) success, with nearly 15,000 people donating. Part of the viral bump came when the appeal came to the attention of J.K. Rowling, Nick Offerman, and Stephen Fry, who all passed it along to their unfathomable numbers of followers.
“I never imagined that my tweet would turn into this amazing thing… Somehow, it’s resulted in people donating [over] £250,000 to help children in Ukraine, it’s just incredible!” said Richard Clarkie, Gabriel’s father.
“Gabriel’s Bowl for Ukraine now has a new home—Renuka Chapman, congratulations,” the family wrote on the fundraising page. “We are now at a £245,000!! A truly unbelievable figure and Save the Children would like me to pass on their immense gratitude.”
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“When Gabriel rang me to let me know I’d won the bowl, I was completely overwhelmed— I’ve never won a single thing before!” wrote Renuka, according to Save The Children’s report on the event.
“This bowl will be one of my most treasured possessions. It represents hope, compassion, and kindness… It will have pride of place in my home.”
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