When 10-year-old Devin Fisher Morasch discovered children his own age were homeless in the Tri-Cities, he decided to do something.
"I just thought they need help," said the West Richland boy.
So last weekend, he donated money from a year's worth of fundraising and chores to the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission after sleeping outside in a tent as part of the Raise Your Tents event.
And he had to repeat the amount a couple of times for Ben Cook, the event's coordinator.
Cook said when Devin, a fifth-grader at William R. Wiley Elementary, rattled off the amount -- $1,184.44 -- he thought he had misheard.
"I said, '$184?' and he said, 'No, $1,184," Cook said.
That $1,184.44 is about a quarter of the $4,000 that Cook estimates Raise Your Tents collected for the mission this year.
In three years, the event has raised about $21,000 for the mission.
"Devin is a one-in-a-million kid," Cook said. "You just don't run into kids like that all the time."
Devin and his mom, Julie Fisher, were two of about 11 people who braved the snow and freezing rain this past week as part of an effort to get people asking questions about homelessness by camping out next Richland's Central United Protestant Church.
Raising money for the mission really was Devin's idea, Fisher said. She supported him, but she said she believed Devin's goal of $1,000 was a little high.
"He's really determined," she said. "He was really on a mission to help out."
Devin and his mom, who attend Central United Protestant Church, became involved with Raise Your Tents when it began three years ago.
Fisher said they decided to participate as an expression of their faith.
"God says that everybody should be treated equally and loved," said Devin, son of Dave Morasch of Pasco. "He wants us to help each other when times are tough, so I believe I should help the homeless."
When not raising money for the mission, Devin plays soccer, basketball and upright bass. He also enjoys reading.
It marks Devin's third year of donating to the mission. The first year, he said he gave about $10. Last year, it became $106.42.
After that gift, Devin and his mom got a tour of the mission in Pasco. Fisher said seeing the shelter was a big eye opener for them.
Devin said he thinks sometimes people don't realize that women and children are homeless, too, not just men. Maybe they made a mistake or had an accident that caused them to lose their home, he said.
"They could be anybody," he said.
And Devin got an early start on his latest donation. A man named Lucky, who was living at the mission, thanked Devin for helping with that $106.42 donation by giving the youngster $5.
Lucky found a place to live about six months ago, said Andrew Porter, mission assistant executive director. The mission is full, and mission officials have plans to expand, first with a new men's shelter. Construction is expected to begin fall 2013.
Devin's donation may go toward the new shelter or it may help with general expenses of offering shelter and food to the homeless, Porter said.
"It's pretty inspiring when a youngster does that," Porter said. "He can teach a lot of us some lessons about giving."
Devin said he raised the money through garage sales, donations from family and friends and his mom's co-workers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He also did chores for relatives and saved money he made by recycling.
"I didn't think I'd make it sometimes," he said.
But everyone was really supportive, Devin said.
And next year, he plans to raise more than $1,184.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org