Texas boy selling hot chocolate to help fund border wall raises $22K

A Texas boy who began selling hot chocolate in February to help fund a border wall reportedly has raised $22,000.

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According to KTRK-TV, Benton Stevens, 7, of Austin, donated the money to We Build the Wall Inc., a nonprofit that has raised more than $23 million via GoFundMe to build segments of wall on private property along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The boy attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week in Sunland Park, New Mexico, for the group's first half-mile section of wall, which cost $6 million to $8 million, KOAT reported.

"Benton Stevens raised $22k with his hot chocolate stand to help build the wall!" the group wrote in a Facebook post Friday. "We were honored to have him at our ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday for the wall he helped pay for along with all of you who donated. This is only the beginning and we're excited to keep building more to protect our nation and the legal citizens who proudly call American their home!"

In a February interview with KXAN, Benton's mom, Jennifer Stevens, said the boy wanted to learn more about the wall after watching President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. Benton came up with the idea to raise money after his parents, who are both Republican National Convention members, explained the issue, she said.

With his family's help, Benton put together his hot cocoa stand and set up shop.

"Hot chocolate, $2," read signs outside the stand. "Proceeds help Trump build the wall."

He also offered free "Beto marshmallows" and 50-cent "Pelosi marshmallows" – named for Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, respectively.

The initial fundraiser prompted both praise and criticism.

Some people were mad and calling me a 'little Hitler' and stuff, and some people were really happy," Benton told KEYE in February.

Benton, who later launched a website selling hot cocoa, lemonade and other products, hopes to raise $50,000, KOAT reported.

Construction crews work on a border wall being put in place by We Build the Wall Inc. on June 1, 2019, in Sunland Park, New Mexico.  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images