MEXICO - What started off as a small summer project for an Audrain County man, soon became a larger organization aimed at serving several charities.
Jeff Schudel, founder of Hi-5, said he started off just posting pictures on Facebook to raise awareness for charities he supports this summer. With just a few friends helping him out, the group Hi-5 held a dog food and cat food drive with proceeds going to the Mexico Animal Shelter.
Then Schudel said the Facebook group grew to more than 12,000 members within just four days. He said people from all over the country wanted to help raise money for charities and be a part of the Hi-5 organization.
The Hi-5 Team is currently working on a Benefit Dinner and Auction for Amanda Isgrig, a 38-year-old Mexico resident in need of a heart transplant. The benefit dinner will be held on September 15, at the 4-H Building in Mexico. The money raised will go to cover her medical expenses, prescriptions and traveling cost. She is scheduled for a doctor's appointment at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis on July 25.
Schudel said Hi-5 is looking to help anyone possible. He said Hi-5 members will continue doing monthly cat food and dog food drives for different animal shelters.
The group's event planner Tina Rubio said plans are also in the works for an "Adopt a Soldier Program" in December. Schudel also said he is already scheduling speakers for anti-bullying speeches in schools.
"Right now is our time and our opportunity to make a difference in the world," said Rubio. "And if we don't stand up and do something then we can't complain about what's not happening."