Rifle boy donates load of necessities to Advocate Safehouse Project
When his kindergarten teacher asked the class what they’d do if they had $100, nobody really expected Mike Bagley’s answer.
“Some of his friends said video games, others said they’d buy chocolate,” Anna Bagley, Mike’s mother, said. “Mike answered, ‘I would buy food for people who don’t have enough food.’”
Ever since that day in kindergarten, Mike immediately set out on a mission of philanthropy.
When his grandfather, Bob Arnold, later gifted him a $100 check, the Rifle youth took the money, bought food and donated it to a Rifle food pantry as well as a local church cupboard.
On March 10, Mike, 8, pushed his wish forward once again, donating about $1,800 worth of towels, toilet paper, gift cards and toys to the Advocate Safehouse Project in Glenwood Springs.
Sometimes when someone is displaced from their home due to domestic or sexual violence in Garfield County, they go to the Safehouse. In 2021 alone, the free emergency shelter provided services to 655 survivors — a 13% increase in clientele from 2020.
With this in mind, Mike also donated unscented laundry detergent so as any releasing smell didn’t potentially trigger past traumatic experiences for Safehouse clients.
“We also gave them a $500 check for bus tickets,” Anna said.
Mike also donated numerous journals — a tool he uses to help himself when he feels sad. Mike knows the positive power of filling a blank page with drawings.
“Mike recognized the importance of journals,” Anna said. “We ended up giving 44 journals. That’s 44 ladies that can maybe process their feelings.”
It’s just the most recent instance of Mike doing what he can to help others. When his grandmother, Cindy Arnold, gave him money for Christmas 2020, Mike and his brother Nate purchased white shirts and donated them to the Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Rifle — an idea he got while playing with his plastic army men.
“They went to Walmart and cleared the shelf,” Anna said.
When Christmas 2021 rolled around, Anna said the first thing Mike said was, “Now I can do my donation.”
“We’re not rich,” Anna said. “But we’re charitable.”
Christmas in March
Though it was a day filled with warmth and compassion, Julie Olson remembers the cold.
“He looked like it was Christmas morning, with a ton of toys from Santa,” the Advocate Safehouse Project executive director said. “And that day was incredibly cold.”
The morning was March 10. Mike, braving a high-mountain breeze, showed up to a parking lot near the Glenwood Springs Police Department with a van full of items.
Olson, speaking candidly, said she heard it was $1,800 worth of items but thought it was an exaggeration.
But Mike had been collecting since January. Through the power of putting out live Facebook videos, Anna and her son garnered chip-ins from friends and family across the nation.
“They were very thoughtful with how they purchased things,” Olson said. “Think about it. This is an 8-year-old young man who organized, facilitated and implemented all this.”
“And he did it so well.”
After Mike got off school at Grand Mesa Elementary School in Rifle on Thursday, he said the donation to Advocate Safehouse Project is so far his record holder, and that it “felt good to continue what he was doing.”
“I think it is the right thing to do,” he said. “And, really, I just like it.”
Mike also likes that people from all over the nation pitched in to support the Advocate Safehouse Project.
“I think I’m really proud,” he said. “This is making a big impact.”
Mike said he’s probably going to facilitate another big donation next year. As to what that is, he doesn’t know yet.
But, at this point, one fact remains for Mike.
“I really just want to help people,” he said.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com
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