Countless people were astounded that someone would be so brazen as to steal a donation box from an Annapolis store that was full of cash designated to benefit the homeless animals cared for at the Anne Arundel County Animal Control and Shelter.
Teen Alex Seidleck, a 16-year-old student at Indian Creek Upper School in Crownsville, could not believe what he read about the incident on Patch. He just had to do something.
“In August, I was scrolling through my phone and I saw an article on the Annapolis Patch about a cash donation box that was meant to help animals in a homeless shelter that was stolen from a liquor store. It really bothered me that someone could be so cruel and selfish that they would steal from animals who have no home, no family and basically nothing at all,” Seidleck told Patch.
He recalled something his parents always said, “There are more good people in this world than there are bad,” but this time, that positive outlook just didn’t resonate with Seidleck.
“The next day I mentioned the article to my Mom, and she asked me what I thought I should do since she could tell I was really frustrated and angered by it. I told her I wished I had the money so I could pay it back myself and that was what gave me the idea of trying to start a fundraiser. I have never done anything like this before, so I did not know if it would work. At first, I couldn’t believe it when people responded and started donating,” he told Patch.
Seidleck first approached local businesses about his idea, but because he wasn’t representing a business or a sports team, he was told he couldn’t set up donation boxes. Undeterred, the teenager created a GoFundMe page where he pleaded with people to consider helping out the animals.
“If you are as outraged as I am to hear that someone in our community would stoop so low to steal from an organization that takes care of thousands of homeless animals and whose source of income is based primarily from donations from the GOOD PEOPLE in this world, please make whatever donation you can to help me right this wrong,” he wrote on the GoFundMe site.
At first, family and friends donated to Seidleck’s cause, along with teammates from his baseball teams. He was shocked when complete strangers offered to pitch in and help, which restored his faith in people.
“In a way, I think this fundraiser helped me as much as it helped the animals at the shelter because it made me realize that there really are more good people in the world than bad. I met my $500 goal in about a month and still had a few donations coming in,” he told Patch.
Recently, on Seidleck’s mom Michelle’s birthday, they met Lisa Ingram, president of the Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Care and Control, and presented her with the $650 he had raised.
“It made me feel good to know that the shelter animals would be getting some of the things they really needed, despite that one person who tried to take it away from them,” he said.
Michelle Seidleck couldn’t believe that her son sought to replace the stolen money and ended up surpassing his original goal.
“One of the many things that makes me so proud of Alex is that he has had a compassionate heart and a huge soft spot for all animals, ever since he was little. Watching him take the initiative to try and help fix a situation that he considered to be very wrong, gave me the opportunity to see another side of him,” his mother said.
“He is usually quiet and does not like to reach out and ask people for help but with this fundraiser, Alex was different. He contacted friends and family through social media and text messages, and also engaged the community in an effort to raise as much as he could to help replace the stolen funds. His Dad and I are both very proud of him for spearheading this charitable fundraiser and for working so hard to reach, and even exceed, the goal he set for himself and for the animals looked after by the Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Care and Control, Inc.,” Michelle Seidleck told Patch.
Michelle Seidleck has loved animals all her life and shares that passion with her son. They’ve raised dogs, cats, lizards, guinea pigs, frogs, fish and hermit crabs. Their beloved family dog Cosmo, who was diabetic, blind and deaf, died earlier this year, but the family is finally ready to bring a new dog into their lives and plan to obtain one from the very shelter Alex Seidleck just helped, he said.
“I am glad we are going to adopt a rescue dog because when I was at the shelter, just seeing all of the animals, their sad eyes and the looks on their faces, it made me realize that there are so many homeless animals out there that need help and homes, even more than I had ever thought,” he said.