Umbrellas for Ella

“Does it rain in Guatemala?”

This one simple question from a seven-year-old to her dad has turned into a fundraiser aimed at changing lives. The little girl’s name is Ella Smith and her mission is to provide Guatemala with umbrellas. While Guatemala may seem like an odd country to send umbrellas to, Ella and her parents, Brian and Liz Smith, have ties to the country and believe it is an amazing way to give back.

“She brought the idea up a second time and so we asked her is that something you really want to do,” Bryan Smith said. “She’s aware of what life is like there, and it resonated with her.”

Ella’s Umbrellas campaign has now taken up roots within the Lyle Creek Elementary School community. From Ella’s dad passing out flyers, to other teachers getting their students involved, the Smith family has collected more than 30 umbrellas and received money to cover more umbrellas and shipping if needed. Another teacher at Lyle Creek is helping the family get the umbrellas out of Hickory and into Guatemala through her church. Bryan Smith said his coworker Hope Laird came to him and said she would love to help Ella’s campaign.

“She said that her church New Life Christian Fellowship had missionaries from their church that go to Guatemala each year,” Bryan Smith said. “She said the funny thing was each time the missionaries go they take a couple extra umbrellas for people.”

To read more of this story, pick up the weekend print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.