by Paula M. Riley
When Wyndmoor second-grader Natalie Bauder, 7, puts her mind to something, nothing stops her!
She recently learned about Chestnut Hill Meals on Wheels (MOW) through her mother, Laura, who joined the group as a volunteer this summer. Laura told her daughter all about the organization’s mission and how important it is for the homebound to receive meals.
That was all the incentive Natalie needed.
“These are people who can’t get out of their houses to buy food,” Natalie said emphatically. “They need food to survive. Without Meals on Wheels, they won’t survive.”
Natalie decided to organize a baked goods sale to raise money for MOW. She had experience in this arena. Last year, when she heard about the devastating earthquake in Haiti, she wanted to take action. Just 6 years old at the time, she organized a baked goods sale at her church, Trinity Episcopal in Ambler.
With the help of her parents, her sale was a huge success! Natalie made a generous donation to Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders.
This year, however, Natalie wanted to bring the sale to her church as well as her school. She began with her church community, and two weeks before the sale, Natalie stood up in front of the congregation to announce the sale and explain that proceeds would benefit Yvonne Chamberlain, and other MOW clients, who were unable to pay for their meals.
As Natalie and her mother planned their baking, news about the sale spread throughout the church community.
“Some told their friends, who told their friends,” said Natalie with a smile, “You know how all that talking works.”
Most of the items sold at the church sale were baked at home by Natalie and her mother, but many church members donated food as well.
“We had a whole table completely filled!” Natalie exclaimed.
As she did at church, the second grader organized the entire sale. With the exception of her mother contacting Erdenheim Elementary principal Christine Bradley for permission, Natalie managed everything. She planned all the baking, created a one-page flyer (complete with graphics) to distribute to the second grade and stood before her second-grade peers to announce the sale and explain its purpose.
Preparation is one of Natalie’s favorite steps.
“I make great cake pops!” she said.
With exceptional detail, Natalie explains the process of creating cake pops – the most popular item at the school sale. Cake crumbs are rolled in a ball, put on a stick and dipped in melted white or milk chocolate.
“The trick is you use the icing like glue,” she revealed. “It keeps the cake on the stick – do you believe it? The magic is the icing!”
Laura helped her daughter on sale day but credits the staff and administration at Erdenheim Elementary.
“They were so eager to support Natalie,” said Laura who explained that the second-graders participate in monthly service projects throughout the year.
Principal Bradley was thrilled to support Natalie.
“Service projects are a part of what we do and who we are,” she said. “When the children come up with their own idea, if we can accommodate it, we certainly will. It reinforces the idea that all of us can work together to give back to our community.”
Natalie considers her sale a big success. She is excited that she raised $528.19 but also recognizes that it was important to tell her classmates about Meals on Wheels.
“I made sure to wear my Meals on Wheels shirt during the day so they knew what I was doing it for,” she said.
She has yet to meet Yvonne Chamberlain, but this introduction is scheduled for the near future. When asked what she thinks Chamberlain will do when she meets her, Natalie replies humbly, “Well I guess she will say ‘thank you.’”
For adults who want to follow Natalie’s spirit of giving, there are other opportunities to donate to Meals on Wheels. The MOW Annual Appeal began in late November and extends through the end of the year. MOW is accepting donations from community members and organizations. Consider giving the gift of a meal. Donations can be made in a friend’s name and given as a gift this holiday season.
Other community events benefitting Meals on Wheels involve collaboration with local retailers and restaurants. On Thursday, Dec. 9, Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Mt. Airy will donate a portion of all proceeds from sales 4-8 p.m., and on Sunday, Dec. 26, the Chestnut Hill Business Association is sponsoring, ”Souper Sunday.” Participating Chestnut Hill restaurants will feature a special soup of the day and a portion of soup sales will be donated to MOW.
For more information, to volunteer or to donate visit www.chestnuthillmow.com