9-Year-Old Central Texas Girl Helps Endangered Pandas on Her Birthday

TROY, Texas (KWTX) — Bella Zapata’s grandparents gave her a book about pandas and since then she’s been addicted and reads it over and over.

Pandas are the future 10-year-old’s favorite animal and she loves watching YouTube videos of babies.

For her birthday this year, instead of asking for gifts, she is turning her passion into action. Bella collects donations to directly help endangered giant pandas.

“I mean really, it warms my heart that I even thought about wanting to do something like this,” Bella’s mom Kalyn Zapata said. “This is the good we want to see in the world.”

Bella is partnering with Dough Mama’s Bakery to collect donations throughout August. The bakery collects coins and dollars in a tip jar on the counter.

“We’ve had tons of customers put their money into it and we’ve tipped them as well,” said Amber Rodriguez, owner of Dough Mama’s Bakery. “Anything to support the youth of Troy.”

There is about a week and a half left in August, but Bella has already surpassed her original goal of raising $100. And she’s not done yet.

“Now we are pushing for our new target which is $250,” Kalyn said. “She will receive a T-shirt, a framed photo of the pandas she supports and a certificate with her name on it. Pins, jewelry, rubber bracelets and things like that.

All money raised will go directly to the non-profit organization Pandas International to protect the world’s giant pandas. The organization helps feed endangered species and plant more bamboo for them to eat.

The latest estimates from the World Wildlife Fund show that there are only around 1,800 giant pandas left in the world.

Bella’s 10th birthday is August 20 and she will be collecting donations throughout the month.

Coins can be deposited in the tip jar at Dough Mama’s Bakery in Troy. Bella and her mother are also accepting donations through Venmo @KZapata13, Cash App $KZapata13 and PayPal [email protected]

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