After being falsely accused of racism by the mainstream media and dozens of celebrities and Democrat politicians, Covington Catholic high school student Michael Hodge is using the backlash to help donate to charity.
Hodge, who wasn’t even present during the events which lead the media to erroneously label his classmates racists, received a volley of hate-filled messages and personal attacks from people believing he was a bigot.
Despite not being present for the event which gained national attention, the 18-year-old student and aspiring chef said his family was inundated with attacks and threats.
However, Hodge and his family were able to use the incident to launch a GoFundMe which they used to donate over $20,000 dollars for charity.
From Courier Journal:
Michael Hodge had applied to Cincinnati State, drawn to the school’s culinary arts program. A mob, angered by videos showing Hodge’s classmates chanting around a group of Native Americans on the National Mall, found a scapegoat in Hodge.
“It was crazy to see all the people, you know, so quick to judge,” Hodge, 18, told the USA TODAY Network. Hodge was 500 miles away when his classmates joined the March for Life event and afterward encountered Native Americans and a reported hate group. Hodge had remained in the Cincinnati area for his older brother’s wedding. But he was mistakenly identified as another CovCath student, Nick Sandmann.
Hundreds sent “hurtful things and threats” to Hodge, he said, and dozens more made harassing calls to his mother.
The vitriol felt unrelenting.
Police officers escorted Hodge to school those first few days back. His mother, Pamela Hodge, feared for his safety.
What the strangers didn’t know: Hodge’s passion for the culinary arts had led him last summer to prepare and serve meals to food-insecure individuals at Mary Rose Mission, a Catholic nonprofit in Florence.
“We were in such a bad spot, so negative for so long,” said John Hodge. “My wife said, ‘What can we do to change this? Make some good out of this?’ “
They mulled creating a fundraiser for Mary Rose, to channel the attention away from hate. They feared it would create more unwanted attention, but ultimately decided to go through with it.
With donations made by check and through GoFundMe, the family raised more than $20,000. The Hodges made a $250 anonymous donation themselves and later donated $600 more to offset a GoFundMe service fee.
On Friday, the family presented a $21,170 check to Carris and Mary Rose.
Carris said the money will likely help defray costs associated with purchasing a new facility to serve as a temporary refuge for people in need.
The refuge would offer warm beds and opportunities, Carris said.