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Young entrepreneur donates half of proceeds to MCC

Cathryn Clinton
July 22, 2008

EAST PETERSBURG, Pa. -- Kristyn Rohrer believed she could run a baking business, so the 11-year-old set up Kristyn's Kitchen for her school’s young entrepreneurs contest. She was one of the top winners in her age group, and she donated half of her earnings from her sales to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

In the spring, Kristyn's school holds a "Bizaar," a contest and business fair that encourages children to learn how to run a business.

The idea for baking came naturally to Rohrer. Her mother is a commercial cake baker. Rohrer said that using her mother's ovens made the job much easier.

The students had to plan what they would make and sell and keep track of expenses and revenues.

Rohrer booked the booth for the school business fair and then figured out what cookies to make, the ingredients needed and the prices.

She also planned a marketing strategy. She spread the word by telling neighbors. She made posters signs and drawings for her booth.

She then went to work on the final steps, ordered forms, got ingredients and baked the cookies for Bizaar day. A teacher from a local high school judged the entries.

In addition to the money they made through their efforts, the top winners in the contest won a stand for a day at a local farmer's market, Root's Market in East Petersburg, Pa., where they could sell their wares.

Rohrer decided to donate half of her earnings from the school fair to MCC. Rohrer had information about MCC and its food programs at her stand. She also had an MCC donation bag for people to give direct donations.

She baked about 200 dozen cookies for her day at Root's, July 8. She sold peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, snicker doodles, sugar cookies and chocolate and pumpkin whoopie pies. The chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies were her best sellers.

Rohrer said that she likes baking whoopie pies the most, because she likes to eat the leftovers. Pumpkin whoopie pies are her favorite.

Rohrer sold out by 6:30 p.m. Her sales exceeded her "wildest dreams." After deducting ingredient costs, Kristyn raised $594.75 from making and selling the cookies, generating $316.58 to give to MCC (half the earnings plus the contents of the donation bag). She hopes that her work can help people around the world have more to eat.

Barb Schrag of MCC’s Resource Generation Department said, "Mission-minded, enterprising volunteers are one of MCC's greatest strengths. Its especially heartwarming when young entrepreneurs like Kristyn Rohrer believe in themselves and are willing to share their gift to help improve the lives of others."