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Monticello girl puts fire into local fundraising effort

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Monticello locals might know the Larson family as the fundraising family. They’ve certainly earned that name at this point.

Last summer Josie Larson set up a lemonade stand raising money for the Monticello K-9 Unit.

She was able to raise enough money to buy dogs Chase and Vader bite sleeves, tugs, Kong balls, leashes, and Jolly balls.

In June, Josie, her mother Amy, and her brother Jayden raised money and gathered supplies to drop off at the Elk River National Guard office.

This summer Josie is collecting money to go towards the Monticello Fire Department.

Amy said that each year Josie comes up with a new place and new way that she can support her community.

“I’m very passionate about giving back and teaching my kids the importance of being philanthropic and the positive impact it has on people,” Amy said. “Through the years they’ve helped me with various volunteer ideas.”

When Josie was just seven-years-old she starting coming up with her own ideas. So far each year she’s surpassed her goals.

“Every year they just seem to get bigger and bigger,” Amy said.

Josie put her famous fund raising to the test once again from Sunday, July 19 to Tuesday, July 21. She is determined to raise $1,500, but will be back out again on Monday, Jul 27 and Tuesday, July 28 if she hasn’t reached her goal in time.

Josie has set her sights on a new skid for the department to help fight off wild fires.

The Monticello Fire Department relies on funds that have been tight recently due to the 2020 pandemic.

That was the start of this 11-year-old’s inspiration.

During the 2019 National Night Out a firefighter was letting kids try on his gear. He told Josie that he didn’t have suspenders so his pants would fall when working.

“Right then she looked at me and said she was going to fundraise for the fire department,” Amy said.

She called the fire department and thats when the chief said they needed a skid.

At such a young age Josie is learning incredible life lessons and making big impacts in Monticello.

“It’s heartwarming to see how excited she gets every time someone swings by her stand to donate,” Amy said.

As of Monday, July 20 Josie has raised $310.

“Your donations will help keep our community safer because the fire department can respond faster with the skid for wildland fires,” Josie said.

The fundraiser will also have two items up for grabs in a raffle that anyone has a chance to win by simply buying a ticket for $5 – or buy four tickets and get one free.

The first item is an insulated picnic backpack filled with goodies like wine, bug spray, sunscreen, set of four place settings, cups, cutting board, and a waterproof blanket.

The second item is a dog and human basket full of treats.

Josie will be selling bottled Gatorade, bottled water, packaged snacks, and loomed bracelets.

The first eight people to donate $25 or more will earn a Twins cup and koozie.

The fundraiser will be taking place in the Larson’s driveway at 6212 Mill Run Road in Monticello.

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