SEATTLE — Pike Place Market is often considered the heart of Seattle.

But it isn't just a shopping destination. It’s a community. And 5-year-old Charley Lahmeyer has been a regular since she was an infant.

"She's like a famous person sometimes, walking through the market,” laughed her mother Rayana White. She owns the small business With The Rain, selling hand-crafted rain boot liners in a Market stall.

Charley joins her mom twice a week, and attends the Pike Market Child Care and Preschool. There, she learned how to make beaded jewelry.

“Someone at my school taught me because they used to do beads when they were a kid,” Charley said.

School also taught Charley about those in need. When they held a food drive, it left a big impression.

"We had some food from our house and put it in a bag and they had a little thing to put it in,” she said.

It gave her an idea: she could give back even more, by selling her jewelry.

"Necklaces and bracelets and ankle bracelets,” Charley said. "For my prices, (pay) whatever you can.”

Charley Lahmeyer
"Rachel the Pig" is a public piggy bank that collects donations for the Pike Place Market Foundation.
KING TV

She set up shop at special Market events, and every time she collected money she made deposits in Rachel the Pig – a giant sculpture next to the fish market that’s collected donations for the Pike Place Market Foundation since 1982.

“(It) collects about $20,000 a year in change and dollars, and those are all donations go right back into the community of services here that we have at Pike Place Market,” said Patricia Gray, Community Relations Manager for Pike Place Market Foundation.
 
Those services include support of the Pike Market food bank, a health clinic, and the preschool - which offers high-quality childcare for all incomes.

So far, Charley's contributions to the piggy bank total nearly $800.

"She's five!” Gray said. “Imagine if everybody could do this, what a difference it would make for our community and people who struggle to make ends meet."

Big inspiration from one of the Market's smallest family members, who proves you can make a difference at any age.

There are a number of ways to support the Pike Place Market Foundation - click here to explore them.

This story is sponsored by Kaiser PermanenteKING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email