Whether he’s sharing his pillow with his cat or saving worms in his grandmother’s driveway, 6-year-old Lucas West is happiest when he’s around animals.

Lucas West, 6, of Woolwich turned his love for animals, especially his dog, Ava, into action. He raised $2,000 for Midcoast Humane with a bottle drive. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

When West saw dogs and cats in need of a home in a commercial for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals, “I got really sad and started to cry and my mom gave me a hug,” he said.

Nicole Brassard, West’s mother, said she noticed “tears streaming down his face” during the commercial.

“He looked over at me and said ‘Mom, I want to help them,’” she said. “As a parent, that really struck me. He really does want to help.”

And so the family launched a bottle drive to raise money for Midcoast Humane, a Brunswick-based animal shelter, earlier this month. West quickly reached his initial goal of raising $100, but he didn’t stop there.

West continued to collect bottles and cans from friends, family members and later strangers who reached out to Nicole Brassard over social media. He brought bags bursting with bottles to Hilltop Redemption Center in West Bath.

As of Wednesday, West had raised $2,000, smashing his $1,500 fundraising goal, according to Nicole Brassard.

West said he plans to use the money to buy “food and toys” for the animals at Midcoast Humane.

Midcoast Humane Spokesperson Kate Griffith said $1,500 can buy over 2,500 meals for the 46 animals in Brunswick.

Griffith said the nonprofit frequently sees children donate to help animals in the shelter, but “it’s not every day a six-year-old raises over $1,500. That’s remarkable.”

In 2020, children alone donated roughly $2,800 in total to the nonprofit, according to Griffith.

Lucas West, 6, hopes to continue organizing a bottle drive fundraiser each April, to raise money for animals in need. Photo courtesy of Nicole Brassard

“Money and supplies themselves help, but what’s better is the intention behind it, which is helping animals in need, is at the very core of what we do,” said Griffith. “To know the next generation is grabbing hold of that and moving forward is so gratifying.”

Griffith said the organization is grateful for any donation, but when children donate or volunteer, it strikes a different chord.

“It’s very nice to see young people in the community taking part in raising funds for Midcoast Humane, whether that’s gathering supplies or having a lemonade stand,” said Griffith. “It’s exciting to see how interested kids are in animal welfare and making the world a better place for animals.”

Hilltop Redemption Center Owner Marrily Castro said she was moved by West’s dedication to his fundraiser, and jumped at the chance to help.

“I’m enthralled by the fact that a child was so moved by those (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals) commercials and his mom was so proactive to encourage him to do something to help,” said Castro. “It’s a fabulous concept for a child so young.”

Castro said she has worked with individuals or groups looking to raise money for various causes before, but West is the youngest philanthropist she has encountered.

“To have a child this young be so excited about being so helpful is the type of seed of the future I’m excited to help nurture,” Castro said. “I wish all adults were so giving.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.