LEWISTON — As he set up his craft-fair table Saturday morning, Maddox Nason hoped his homemade Popsicle stick picture frames, salt dough ornaments and cookies would bring in $200 to help sick children.
He raised nearly triple that amount.
On Saturday afternoon, the Auburn 6-year-old left the Franco Center’s craft fair with $578, more than enough to buy Legos, crayons and other toys for children in the hospital. One man had handed Maddox a $200 check that morning, just to ensure he met his goal.
“We’re just blown away at the generosity of everyone,” said Maddox’s mother, Melissa Nason.
Maddox embarked on his mission about six weeks ago after encountering children from Make-A-Wish during a family vacation in Florida. The idea of sick children bothered him. He wanted to do something to help.
His first idea: buy “supplies and medicine” to make sick kids better. But that would be tricky, his mother explained. He couldn’t make them better all by himself.
He concluded, then, that toys would be good. Something to “get them to have a happy life,” Maddox told a Sun Journal reporter earlier this week.
Saturday’s craft-fair organizers donated a table, and Maddox’s aunt and grandmother helped him make dozens of crafts, ornaments and baked goods. Maddox created a sign for his table: “Please help. For sick kids.”
After Maddox’s story appeared in the Sun Journal on Friday, word of his mission quickly spread.
His table was popular Saturday.
“Some people were saying they had no idea there was even a craft fair. People were just coming to meet him and give him money,” his mother said.
Craft-fair organizers donated $57, all of the proceeds from the fair’s raffle. So many people dropped cash in Maddox’s donation jar that he started giving away his crafts and cookies as a thank-you.
“Everyone who gave him money, he went right up to shake their hand and say thank you,” his mother said.
Maddox got more than money. One woman made him a chef’s hat and apron because he likes to bake. Fair organizers awarded him a number of the raffle prizes.
Maddox plans to buy tubs of Legos and art supplies for children at Maine Medical Center in Portland, where young patients can sign out toys from the playroom and bring them back to their hospital rooms to play.
Maddox would also like to donate toys to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, but the hospital has not yet returned his mother’s calls. She plans to keep trying.
She called people’s response to her son’s plea on Saturday “amazing.”
“It absolutely is wonderful,” she said.