12-Year-Old Woodworker's Bowl Has Raised Over $109,400 and Counting for Ukrainian Children
Richard Clark Gabriel Clark holds the bowl he is raffling off
Gabriel Clark fell in love with woodworking around age three or four when his mother handed the tot his grandfather's hammer.
"I've always had a real passion for it," Gabriel, now 12, tells PEOPLE, "and I've just taught myself everything I know."
The Cumbria, England, schoolchild also has an innate wish to do good, which he put into effect this spring.
On March 25, Gabriel's father, Richard Clark, tweeted about his son's craftsmanship and how he'd been saving money from sales of his handcrafted wooden bowls and cutting boards for a mountain bike. The post went viral, and Gabriels' Instagram (@clarkie_woodwork) received thousands of orders for custom bowls and went from 6 followers to over 200,000 in 48 hours.
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Gabriel decided to turn his newfound popularity into a chance to help others. The talented, young craftsman recently launched a raffle for one of his handmade bowls — etched with a blue and yellow ring, the colors of Ukraine's flag — to raise money for Ukrainian children.
As of Friday morning, Gabriel has raised more than $109,450 for Save the Children's Ukraine relief effort.
A winner of the bowl raffle will be chosen at random this Sunday, April 17.
Richard Clark Gabriel Clark
Gabriel had set a goal of raising around $6,500 through his raffle and is "really amazed by how I've done this," he says.
"I want to know that I can make other children's lives better by doing a little bit of something in my own life," Gabriel adds.
Gabriel prompted the tweet that started it all by telling his dad on Friday, March 25, that he was feeling a "bit down."
Lovely twitter people - I don't know how many of you are also #instagram users but I'm looking for a wee favour. I've a 12yr old who loves woodwork. He spends hours on his lathe making bowls and creating chopping boards which he's sells to save up for a mountain bike. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/Ny60rFf1TE
— Richard R Clark 🇺🇦 (@rclarkie) March 25, 2022
"I asked dad if he could put something out on his Instagram or Twitter. He put out a bit of a tweet saying, 'My son's a little bit sad. Can you go support him by following his Instagram?' And instantly, it completely blew up," Gabriel recalls.
Gabriel received over 20,000 orders shortly after his dad posted the tweet. "As a response to being so supported," the boy says, he came up with the Bowl for Ukraine raffle.
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"The main thing about Gabriel, he's got a really, really big heart," says his mother, Teresa McCann Clark, 53, an artist. "He's talented, he's creative, but more than anything, he's got a big heart."
To follow Gabriel's Bowl for Ukraine raffle, visit the fundraiser's website.
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