Over 1,000 chocolate stir spoons made and sold by local middle-school girls will be used to dig water wells that will enable girls across the ocean to receive an education.
Alexis Cox, of Hugo, and Lily Peck, of White Bear Lake, came together with several friends at their church to make and sell hundreds of chocolate stir spoons, raising $2,000 for water wells in Ethiopia. Together, their entire youth group at Redeeming Love Church in Maplewood raised $30,000 through various projects.
Cox said she had a goal to raise $550 by the end of the year for the fundraising initiative. After she successfully raised the funds in 24 hours selling homemade chocolate stir spoons on social media, she asked her friends to join the business, “Sweet Treats by Lexi and Friends.” The philanthropic business also became a home-school project for the eighth-grader.
Peck, a sixth-grader at Central Middle School, joined her and with several other friends made more than 1,000 chocolate spoons in various flavors to stir into a glass of hot milk. They said they were easy to make — simply melt chocolate into ice cube trays, add flavors and a plastic spoon, and let them harden in the fridge. They made hundreds at a time. They sold them on social media and at church.
“I think the cause got people motivated to help out,” Cox said. When they sold the chocolate spoons they also raised awareness of the plight of women and children in the Ambo, Ethiopia, area who walk miles a day to get unclean water, Peck noted.
“It’s just heartbreaking to see what happens in the mother’s and children’s lives,” Cox said.
“You really can’t take water for granted here in America,” Peck added.
The funds raised by this and other youth group projects will be used by Speed the Light and World Serve to dig five to six wells near Ambo, Ethiopia, said Pastor James Peck, who surveyed the area with other pastors, a geologist and city and government officials last summer. Six prospective well locations were identified in areas where waterborne illness is the leading cause of illness and death. With the funds raised, all six will likely be able to be dug this year, he added.
Local Ethiopian pastors also have a goal to build a church and a school by each well. With no water to fetch, women and children will have more time to receive an education, he noted. Girls will no longer face the future prospect of spending six hours a day fetching muddy water from a stream miles away — a woman’s job in the culture. They will be able to receive an education and dream for their future.
The Redeeming Love Church youth group raises funds for various causes each year. In 2018, members will raise funds to combat human trafficking and slavery. Pastor Peck said students became interested in the issue because it hits home with the Super Bowl being held in Minneapolis this year.
Every Minnesota Assemblies of God youth group raises funds for various causes each year. The total amount raised by youth in Minnesota in 2017 was $1.4 million, the pastor said.
“I love the effect it has on students,” he noted. “They get a vision for the needs of others.”
In 2016, the youth group also raised money for four wells in Swaziland. Pastor Peck also took a survey trip there and keeps a rock from Swaziland on his dresser in his White Bear Lake home to remind him of the needs of others across the globe.
He said traveling on the water well survey trips has made him appreciative of what he has living in the land of 10,000 lakes.
His ultimate goal is to empower the next generation to put their faith into action and spur generosity.
“The next generation believes they have the ability to change the world,” he said. In 2019, the youth group has plans to visit Ethiopia with their pastor to see the wells in action.
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