Cupcakes for Children raises money and awareness for Ghanaian orphanage
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Surrounded by boxes of cupcake mix and blasting a playlist of Beyoncé and Ghanaian music, the members of Cupcakes for Children began their first official meeting in the Norris common room. As part of a newly formed club on campus, members will bake cupcakes and sell them as a fundraising project in order to provide electricity to a Ghanaian orphanage.
Sophomore Ava Martinez started the club after volunteering at the orphanage over the summer. Impacted by her experiences with the children and the community in general, Martinez started to brainstorm simple ways in which she could raise money for the orphanage.
Located in Bawjiase, Ghana, the orphanage needs $20,000 to pay for an installment of electricity in its facilities. Martinez said that ideally, she wants to raise $10,000 before winter break, when she returns to Ghana. Another volunteer from Michigan hopes to help raise the other $10,000 with her high school’s Key Club chapter.
The club is affiliated with Mama Hope, which is a non-profit that works in close partnership with local African organizations to connect them with the resources required to improve the well-being of their communities. If the club raises enough money to install electricity at the orphanage, Martinez plans on turning the club’s focus to Mama Hope’s other fundraising projects.
Martinez first learned about volunteer opportunities in West Africa when a friend of hers volunteered at an orphanage in the region. Her friend’s recommendation of the experience piqued her interest, and she looked into doing a program. Eventually, she started corresponding with a volunteer coordinator about the United Hearts Children’s Center, an orphanage supported by Mama Hope.
“I definitely went into it blindly and did not expect to get involved in it as much as I did,” Martinez said. “I had such a good experience, not just with the kids but the community was also welcoming to volunteers, which was apparently unusual.”
Martinez plans on returning to the children center as often as possible and in the meantime will be devising ways to support them from the United States. Martinez has been planning to organize Cupcakes for Children for the past several months, reaching out to her friends and roommates to help her get the club off the ground.
The club’s small and informal executive board consists of Jenny Craig (sophomore), Laurel Howard (sophomore) and Maya Herzig (sophomore). As club membership expands, they hope to establish more leadership positions. They have yet to petition ASOC for funding and currently pay for baking ingredients out of their own pockets.
Nevertheless the club has caught the attention of numerous students. Brittany Berkus (first-year) became interested in getting involved when she learned the club’s purpose pertained not only to a good cause but to her personal interests.
“I love cupcakes. This is what I do back home,” Berkus said. “It was cool to see a group of people doing the same thing I do and it’s for a great cause, so it’s a good investment of my time.”
Cupcakes for Children meets on Mondays at 5 p.m. in the Norris common room and puts on bakes sales in the quad on Tuesdays. Individual cupcakes cost $1 in cash, but the club charges $5 to student accounts for three cupcakes.