Eighth grader Madeline has been working for the good of others each December since she was seven years old. She can barely remember how it began, first being inspired by a story of a kid with a lemonade stand who raised money for a cause. She began to talk with her mom about running a lemonade stand. Her mom gently counseled that lemonade would not be a big seller in upstate New York in December. So, undaunted, Madeline gave the matter some thought, and decided to bake and sell goodies.
Where to have the bake sale? She liked the store The Sweater Venture in East Greenbush, so her mom drove her there where she strode inside and pitched her idea. The store is cozy, not corporate, and the owners agreed to the idea. Six years later, “Madeline’s Bake Sale at the Sweater Venture” is still going strong.
Early on, Madeline chose Unity House, in Troy, as the beneficiary of her proceeds. “I wanted to help lots of different types of people, and they have a lot of programs,” she explained. Over the years, she has targeted the funds raised to help buy toys for children whose families can’t afford them. “I think if the children in a household are happy playing with toys, that would make it so much better for the parents,” she said.
Each year the bake sale has grown. In its first year, the sale raised a little more than $100. This year, Madeline brought Unity House a gift of $1100. The owners of The Sweater Venture have given her tips and customer engagement ideas all along. And, each year, some supporters visit the store just to support Madeline’s project. Her snickerdoodles have a particular following.
As she has grown, Madeline’s younger sister, Genevieve, supports the work more and more. She helps with the baking (this year treats shaped like acorns were her specialty), and also with staffing the table. The hard work is even more impressive once Madeline discloses this point “I actually do not like baking or cooking,” she admitted. “I would rather spend the time reading.”
Hats off to this project: for its compassion, its entrepreneurship, and its ongoing dedication to being of service!