The Battle Ground fire station was the site of some early Christmas cheer as one 13-year-old resident raised funds to provide a special Christmas to a family in need.
On Nov. 19, Hannah Boyett, alongside other members of American Heritage Girls Troop WA 1031, were out selling baked goods to raise funds for a community outreach project spearheaded by Hannah. Proceeds from the sale will go to a family selected by The Salvation Army through their adopt-a-family program, she said.
Though initially she thought she would see a modest turnout, Hannah said she wasn’t expecting to be overwhelmed by the support of people stopping by. With about a half-hour left in the scheduled time for the sale, Hannah’s mother, Julie, estimated they had raised $700, more than their original $500 goal.
Julie said one couple in Tillamook had seen in a news story that the sale was going on and drove up to Battle Ground to donate a backseat filled with food and $185 in a cash donation.
“They said it’s good to see kids get involved and want to do something for somebody else instead of themselves, which was (Hannah’s) whole goal,” Julie said.
Patricia Zavadlov, troop coordinator for 1031, said planning started back in September. The project was one requirement for earning the Harriet Tubman Level Award, she said, marking progression from the Pioneer level to Patriot, the highest in the American Heritage Girls organization. Outside of community service, AHG members have to mentor a younger level, earn a badge in six different areas of focus and have a board of review to progress.
Around the time she was brainstorming ways to complete the badge, Hannah found herself baking and an idea clicked — do a bake sale benefit to give back. She said she was exposed to cooking through her mother. Julie added that during a trip to Bob’s Red Mill Hannah received a mixing set, which led to the purchase of baking ingredients, and eventually the seeds for the interest were sown.
Alongside some support from the troop, Hannah took on most of the baking duties. Outside of planning how to make all of the baked goods, Julie explained Hannah had to reach out to Clark County Fire District 3 and the Washington State Patrol to get support, the former providing a venue and the latter providing outreach to let people know the sale was happening.
Hannah also reached out into the community for donations for materials — Julie mentioned in one instance a manager at Costco provided a 4.5-pound bag of chocolate chips as an example.
Other than proceeds from the sale, Hannah and the crew also collected blankets that would be donated to Open House Ministries and food to FISH of Vancouver. Though they had yet to receive information on the family chosen, Julie believed that there was a Battle Ground family who could potentially receive the benefit, keeping it local in the troop’s home city.
Hannah has a plan for getting the most out of the donations — going Black Friday shopping. Although she has flipped through different newspapers and mail inserts for deals in years past, it would be the first time she’s taken part in the after-Thanksgiving Day ritual.
“I’m actually really excited for that,” Hannah said.
The response the sale received brought feelings of joy to Julie, seeing how far they were able to draw support.
“It’s not just your friends and family that are coming up, it’s complete strangers,” Julie said, saying there may have been a few tears of joy shed when she saw the response. “It’s been a blessing.”