Helping the Homeless One Cupcake at a Time
By Tim Martin
Meet Sierra Parsons. She is a 16 year old from Walton, West Virginia. Walton is an average small town with a population below 2000 residents. She attends an average high school, but she is far from being average. Instead of hanging out at the mall after school and on weekends, she is baking over 500 cupcakes for the homeless and delivering them to 5 different shelters in Charleston, West Virginia.
This started last Christmas for Sierra. Instead of spending her Christmas money on gifts for herself, she bought ingredients to make cupcakes. She and her mother delivered those cupcakes the next day. This has now became a weekly routine.
She did a news story for the local news station in Charleston, WOWK. She told WOWK that "I think I'm different because I was raised different. I know what it's like to struggle." Being raised in a small town and not growing up having a lot can teach you to appreciate the things you do have, and to realize what is really important in life.
I had the privledge of sitting down with Sierra to ask her more about Cupcakes For A Cause.
1. How many cupcakes do you deliver a week?
It varies every week. Sometimes I skip a weekend and work on hygiene bags. Our goal is to try to make more than we did last time. For example, we made 550 last time so we will try to make 575 or 600 next time!
2. Who helps you in making the cupcakes and delivering them?
My mom helps bake, bag, and deliver them. Sometimes we have other people helping, like my moms boyfriend and my aunt, but its mainly just me and my mom.
3. I noticed on your Facebook page that you have also been working on collecting other supplies to help out other people. Could you go into that a little bit?
When we started Cupcakes For A Cause, we focused on hunger relief. Now we are gathering personal hygiene items such as deodorant, toothpaste, floss, and shampoo. We are also collecting donation items from local businesses for our auction to raise money to buy things like deodorant, hair brushes, etc.
4. How much time would you say you dedicate a week to this?
On a average week (when we make the cupcakes), I spend about 15 hours working on donations, 8 hours baking, and four hours at the homeless shelters.
5. Whats the biggest donation you have received so far?
The biggest donation would have to be from Dr Holmes, a dentist in Charleston. He donated 400 toothbrushes!
6. So far during this incredible journey you have been on, has someone on the receiving end really made you see what a difference you have made or just someone that has touched your heart?
I feel like I have not only influenced people that I donate to but I have also influenced the people I come in contact with everyday. My family helps me a lot and supports me through the journey. I think I have opened a lot of people's eyes to the need in the community.
7. Where would you like to see this go a year from now?
A year from now, I will be leaving for college. I am planning on going to university of Kentucky and getting a business degree to open up my own bakery. I plan on still working on cupcakes for a cause. I will not be able to work in Charleston while I'm at UK but I will hopefully find some new shelters to help in my new area. I hope that I have enough support that I can do this the rest of my life. I don't think I could ever stop.
Sierra has a Facebook page set up called Cupcakes For A Cause for you to see how she is helping her community and you can also can donate if you want to help Sierra on her mission.
After Sierra completes high school, she plans to attend the University of Kentucky and study business. She hopes to open her own bakery in the future.
Here is the link to the story WOWK did on Sierra and the video of that interview:
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