Not Just an Ordinary Bake Sale

By Norma Richman

HPA’s Fifth Grade Students Raise Money to Buy Gifts for Residents at Ronald McDonald House Pasadena

“It’s important to do community service because we’re helping out children in need in a positive way. We can use our privileges to help people in the community. If I can impact someone’s life positively, I would do it.”—Allen B.-B., age 11

It all started with a plan. After two years of pandemic safety protocols, Mr. Woodward’s and Ms. Martin’s fifth-grade students knew there had to be a bake sale somewhere in the mix. The point was to raise money for supplies to fill large tote bags for residents at Ronald McDonald House in Pasadena. Two bake sales provided part of the money, and students also supplemented with at-home chores for which they were paid. In all, over $1,100.00 was raised.

Eliana S.-A., age 11, reported, “Right before we started raising money by doing chores, we had a discussion and wrote an essay about having an allowance. We needed to raise $10 each. I already got allowance, but I ended up raising $20. My chore was unloading the dishwasher.”

With regard to the bake sales, Aimee N., 11, described the process in detail: “I think about how the children are going to feel happy. While I was doing the bake sale, I was thinking about the money going to buy things—the more money the better. For the bake sale, some people baked things like cookies, or a variety of brownies, but I baked guava and cream cheese pastries and lemon bars. For the first bake sale, everything was $1.00, but for the second bake sale it was a bargain—three cookies for a dollar.” Both bake sales sold out in about ten minutes!

Students then went about determining what kinds of gifts would be appropriate for children staying at RMH. The list included playing cards, puzzles, coloring books, colored pencils, and board games. Recognizing what fun it can be to bake, kits—complete with cake pans, batter, icing, and even sprinkles—were assembled and stashed in the totes. The collections were topped off with $20 Target gift cards for each recipient.  And leftover cash totaling $304 went to the RMH kitchen for baking essentials like eggs and oil.

To fill twenty bags, the process included forming an assembly line. Megan W., age 11, described the whole thing: “So we basically had all these different stations. We got something from each station and packed the bags carefully so nothing was missing. I think that community service projects give us perspective on how lucky we are. If the kids are sick, this can cheer them up.”

Jacob C., age 11, noted, “RMH helps children and their families. It gives them a place to stay. And it’s also a non-profit.”

Ronald McDonald House Pasadena calls itself a “Home Away from Home.” Since 2004 it has provided comfort and support to children and families in Southern California. It is located across the street from Huntington Hospital in a beautiful Craftsman style home. The goal is to “create a community where children and their families embrace life and healing with a sense of hope, enthusiasm, courage, and joy by keeping families close to each other and the care they need.”

“The way I see it, if you have the chance to help someone else, why not do it. Probably it makes them feel happier when they are going through hard times. So I think that they’ll be very happy. What High Point is doing is special and unique,” said Simon L., 11, summing up the school’s Community Engagement program.

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