The girls raised an even $120 from their hot cocoa stand (thanks to many generous donations!), and I have to say that this whole experience has been really amazing.
It was really important to me that the girls—who came up with this idea on their own—be part of this process. They helped brainstorm toppings, spread the word, collect money and hand out cups of hot cocoa. We also sold instant hot cocoa packets, and we spent one evening assembling those together.
After the World Vision Gift Catalog came in October, we decided that it made the most sense to hold the hot cocoa stand at my mom’s house, since she has an actual neighborhood. The girls excitedly prepped their friends all week so that by the time we were actually ready, we had a caravan of almost 10 kids following our little green wagon, which was loaded with hot cocoa, cups, straws and various toppings. One of the little boys across the street was so sweet, buying candy canes and hot cocoa for everyone in the neighborhood and happily plinking all of his coins into our donation jar.
If we had simply sold cups of hot cocoa, chances are we would have only raised $20 or so, but the neighbors and our visiting family were exceptionally generous, giving extra dollars and, in one case, even writing us a check. The next morning I was excited to tell the girls that two of my fellow bloggers and friends had also made donations via Paypal while they slept!
Altogether, we ended up raising $120, exceeding our goal by $20. Our 8-year-old sat down and paged through the gift catalog for the umpteenth time, making a list of all of the things we could potentially buy. As an avid cyclist herself, she really wanted to buy a bicycle to help a girl get to and from school safely, but her sisters wanted to stick with the original plan of farm animals.
They settled on this set of 13 farm animals, including 10 ducks, 2 chickens and a rabbit for $114. (We dropped the remaining $6 in a Salvation Army red kettle!)
After we got back from North Carolina, we headed to the bank to deposit our jar of money, and then we pulled up WorldVisionGifts.org on the computer to order the animals together.
I really wasn’t sure how to make this process meaningful for them since they wouldn’t be able to actually touch or donate the animals, but the World Vision site has videos to go with each donation, and the girls excitedly clicked through to find the set they were ordering and watched the video to learn how it would make a difference for families around the world.
This may be my new favorite Christmas tradition. Logging on to order the animals as a family (which I know many families do) is really special by itself—and I’d love to set aside a portion of our budget each year at Christmas (or even each month!) to do this—but raising the money themselves made even more of an impact on them.
P.S. We’re still raising money for farm animals here at Life Your Way. Thanks to the generosity of ePantry, we’ve raised $435 so far. I don’t think we’re going to hit our goal of $2,362, but I’d love your help in getting closer. You can head here to join our team and donate any amount today!
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