Hoover girl holds yard sale to help Gulf turtles

By Katie Herrera

BIRMINGHAM, AL - Instead of playing outside or in the pool, Mercedes Purington, a 9-year-old from Hoover, spent Saturday holding a yard sale to "Save the Sea Turtles."

"Well, the oil spill sends all the animals away. They are like suffering since the oil spill," said Mercedes.

She had seen images of oiled turtles on the internet, which inspired her to take action.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 583 sea turtles were stranded in the oil spill area as of June 28. And 70,000 turtle eggs are being moved from at-risk beaches.

"I just want to help out," explained Mercedes.

So one day, her mom came home to find something that not many mothers do – Mercedes had cleaned out her room!

"About half of Mercedes' room was out in the hall," explained her mother, Audra Purington. "I was very proud of her. I thought it was very sweet for a 9-year-old little girl to give up her toys and some of her clothes to help the sea turtles that are in danger."

Mercedes had jewelry, art work, books, toys, DVDs and clothes up for sale.

"I don't mind…. It's for a good cause," said Mercedes.

Audra said that attitude even spread to the shoppers.

"I think that their main reason for stopping by was because they saw the signs to help the sea turtles. So they just donated anyways, just to help," said Audra.

By the end of the day, Mercedes collected $85. But that's not all. Her mother promised to match whatever she made.

So Mercedes sent $170 to the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program.