Monroeville 6th-grader turns old consoles, video games into funding for Peru homes

Heath Chase started fundraising efforts that turn old consoles and video games into money that helps build homes in a Peruvian town.

Heath Chase started fundraising efforts that turn old consoles and video games into money that helps build homes in a Peruvian town.

Updated 1 hour ago

St. Bernadette Catholic School sixth-grader Heath Chase couldn’t bear the thought of his family spending money on a new video game console when he found out there are families around the world who could use that money to build homes.

“Helping others just feels great,” Heath, 11, said.

After learning last fall that some people lived in cardboard houses in Chimbote, Peru, Heath started a fundraiser called Gaming for Chimbote. He collects old video game consoles and games to trade in for money.

“For me as a parent I’ve been floored just to see this new thing in him and inspiration,” said Mary Chase, Heath’s mother. “I was so overwhelmed because in my lifetime I’ve never accomplished something like this.”

Mary said Heath wanted a new Xbox for Christmas, but changed his mind when he realized the money could help someone in need.

“He goes, ‘Mom, pretend you’re buying me an Xbox and then I want to give the money so a family can get a house,’ ” she said. “That was his project; his idea.”

About $250 is what it costs for someone in Chimbote to build a house. Heath has been able to raise about $5,000.

“My goal was only 10 houses and I got 18 houses,” he said.

Sister Carol Arch, school principal, said she’s never seen a student raise so much money and be so successful at a fundraiser for Chimbote.

“We’re thrilled with how it’s turned out,” she said. “We’re very proud of what he did.”

Arch said Heath kept up on all of the donations and brought attention to the cause not only in the school, but to the whole congregation when he spoke at Sunday Mass.

“He stood in the back of church with a basket,” Arch said. “People were very generous.”

Arch said the Chimbote mission was started by the Diocese of Pittsburgh about 50 years ago. Several groups from the diocese visit Peru each year.

“I just think it’s a wonderful cause,” she said.

Anyone interested in donating can do so in the St. Bernadette Church lobby or can email for more information.

Heath hopes to continue the fundraising and make it bigger and better in future years.

“I think my next goal will be 25 houses every year,” he said.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at 412-871-2369 or

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