LOWELL | Something stirred inside the hearts of young Zelia Hubbell Schmidlin and Allison Swarens when they saw Hurricane Sandy's effect on people's lives.
"It was devastating," Zelia, 8, said.
"We saw it on the news. It was really sad," Allison, 9, said.
The two friends were moved to action and began a door-to-door campaign in their Castlebrook subdivision neighborhood to raise money to help those hurt by Hurricane Sandy.
The result is a money order for $64 ready to be mailed to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy victims.
The girls mounted their project from the home of Zelia's grandmother, Maryann Kirby, who encouraged them.
The neighbors were very generous, she said.
"I never thought they would raise so much so quickly," she said.
Carrying their homemade sign that read: "Raise money for Hurricane Sandy" 50 cents. Help!," the girls asked only 50 cents at each door, but always came away with more.
At one home, a woman emptied the entire contents of a money jar into the girls' container.
"Some people asked us where it happened," Allison said of the hurricane.
Zelia said, "They wanted to be sure we were sending it to the victims (of Hurricane Sandy)."
Being enterprising is not new to the duo who have operated a lemonade stand together. During the summer, they made and sold bracelets in their neighborhood.
Kirby, whose home is where the girls spend a lot of time, said she encourages such pasttimes.
"I'm so proud of them," she said.
Allison and Zelia said they have learned it's good to give to others. Their families, they said, give clothing to those who need it, and they are ready for another project.
"We like helping," they both said.