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Two West End middle school students raising money for Sylvan Park businesses hit by thieves

Jonah Smith and Max Mara
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jan 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 07:04:55-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A convenience store and a gas station in Sylvan Park are reeling after back-to-back break-ins, but two middle school students in the neighborhood are raising money to help them.

"Two weeks in a row [Billy's Corner] got robbed on the weekends through their side door," explained Max Mara, 14.

Max Mara and Jonah Smith live less than a ten minute walk from Billy's Corner and Jack's Market on Murphy Road.

"The cashiers and employees are all very nice and local," said Jonah Smith, 13.

News that thieves broke into both stores didn't sit well with the two eighth graders.

"I'd probably just ask them if they understand that they're hurting small businesses, and these places are a part of a community," Smith said.

Smith and Mara created a GoFundMe for the damages and losses the stores sustained.

"We were talking about ways to raise money, and that popped into my mind, and we started talking about it and got it going," Smith said.

After just four days, more than 30 people had donated to the GoFundMe.

Mara said the owner of Jack's Market has told them he's very grateful.

"They're just so thankful. They're telling everyone in the store what we did, whenever we're in there," Mara said.

The boys advertised the GoFundMe on Instagram and Nextdoor. They are glad people are participating.

"Definitely thankful that people will come together to help... It will just show the community is stronger," Smith said.

They will present the money to the businesses soon.

"It's going to be a good feeling," Mara said.