The Bradley Jug
Jody Olson- Assistant Director of Forest Heights Lodge
Several years ago, while checking out at the store with a boy named Bradley, I noticed that he dumped all of his change into a charity bottle. The only money he had was the allowance he’d received from the Lodge. He was one of the poorest kids I had ever known. I asked him why he donated his change and his reply sticks with me to this day: “Didn’t you know that I never keep my change? I always donate my change. . . . I have been given so much, I can give something back.”
After Bradley left the Lodge, we started the Bradley Jug at the Lodge. Today when kids come back from a shopping trip or outing, they can check their money back into their allowance account or donate their change to the Bradley Jug. Over the years, we have used the money to help buy needy kids Christmas gifts. We have donated $378 to Evergreen’s Friendship Bridge which helps women and children in Central America. We have also donated to local, national, and international charities.
Another boy took the Bradley Jug one step further. He started raising money for special projects. He would go to the other boys and staff at the Lodge and ask for their financial support for the Denver Rescue Mission and their annual drive to feed the homeless during Thanksgiving. Today, we still remember to make the contribution every November.
Last year the kids donated over 10% of their weekly allowance to the Bradley Jug. That large Jug has become a real part of who we are at the Lodge. Over the years the generosity has grown, the pennies have become quarters, which have become dollar bills. Our contributions to the Bradley Jug continue to grow each year. It is wonderful to think that the influence of one boy, who seemingly had so little, has given back so much more.