You know how I love global causes and helping my boys see they can have a part in greater good across the world. Well when I heard about Cupcakes for Haiti that Lynette Austin put together in Northern Virginia I thought hey that’s something I can do. But life is crazy right now, as in really crazy, as in leaving for Jordan in 3 weeks, working on 2 painting commissions, seminary, town meetings, seft dance donation solicitations, trying to wrap up my domestic series, and emails flooding my inbox like that scene form harry potter where the letters fly in from every opening to the house. So it would have been easy to ignore the thought and inspiration, but when you feel the urge to do good things—you do them.
While I knew I couldn’t pull of something grandiose I knew I could do something. Lynette and I chatted on the phone (thanks to Rose Dall for hooking us up) because I believe in learning from those more experienced, her experience and wisdom was invaluable. After we talked I said ,”That’s it I am going to do it!” Because you know if there is one thing I can do it’s make cupcakes and frosting and my sprinkle collection is legendary. (Maybe I will will it to the Smithsonian when I die). I decided to keep it small scale and make the focus involving my kids and our neighbors. We had 3 days from the time we secured a location to get it pulled off.
So we made cupcakes- lots of cupcakes- hundreds of cupcakes. My 4yo old is a master of the hand mixer. My 2 year old also fought over full mixer control and mastered the job of “beater licker”. Smart mama mixed giant triple batches of fresh vanilla and chocolate butter cream frosting (now you see why 7 qt mixer is an essential element in our home). Smart daddy-o covered trays and sampled frostings. May I also caveat the only thing I had to buy at the store was eggs (all the other things for this were already in my food storage shelves!)
We made posters (can you believe I actually learned how to make posters with chalk pastels in college) We invited friends and neighbors over for a family night decorating party. We love inviting people to our home and especially when we are united by a great cause. It was really great to have a project that the kids could have fun with even at ages 2-9. We had infinite variation of cupcakes, frostings, and sprinkles which made for a beautiful and alluring display.
In my preparation I wondered how we would package them, and then an idea struck punch cups-It was perfect they fit in nicely. You wrap the tops with cellophane and they look gorgeous, travel well and don’t smash- so may I recommend that for any future bake sales with cupcakes!!
We set up in the breezeway of Goretti’s a locally owned store, which was so kind of them, because it is Feb in New England (high on about 33 degrees. And for 4 hours my kids, and our friends the Jones and one of their friend manned the table. We were overwhelmed with the generosity of the community. People leaving money without taking anything. People paying $10 for a cupcake. In fact it went so well Christy and I were taking turns running home kicking out 5 more dozen cupcakes and 3 dozen more cookies! It was deeply humbling to see the goodness and concern of others.
I was so touched by the remarks of some of the people who stopped to talk to our kids. One woman teared up and said to the kids, “I know you are giving from the heart, Jesus is proud of you”. Our kids felt powerful. They beamed when we sold out an hour early! As we sat at the table we talked about the difference that this could make, and how if no one stepped up, no one would get help. It’s so easy to think someone else will take care of things instead of sharing in the burdens of humanity ourselves.
They counted up with glee the hundreds and hundreds of dollars that had been shoved in the donation can. (We are donating it to Food for the Poor and interdenominational humanitarian supply agency.) We calculated it out and with the money they made it will purchase 4,400 lbs of rice and beans for people in Haiti! (Food for the Poor has a feeding center there where they are providing hot meals).
A testament that by small a simple things great things can come to pass. The power of kids, cupcakes, and a community that cares.
**Disclaimer** I publish in rough draft, uncut form and I "just say no" to spell checker.
As a mom busy growing up 3 little boys, I want to teach them to be smart! And by that I mean to think, to make wise choices, to care about the important things, to help make the world better, and use up their lives on the things that really matter.