Sweet Charity Fudge History:
How it all started…
In 2009 I wanted to try to do a service project. I loved to come up with big ideas and help others, so one day I went up to my mom and said, “I’ve been thinking….” At first, I was highly ambitious and didn’t really know where to start. After lots of rejected ideas and discussion, we finally came up with something we thought everyone would like, that could be made in bulk…. Fudge!
That first year, I had many problems I had to overcome, like getting the consistency right and keeping track of all of my receipts and money. This was the first project that my parents didn’t front with money for expenses. Even now I’m having trouble with some of these things, but every year they get better. After that first year I learned a lot of good lessons and my business keeps changing today.
My first year, I decided to support the local Bosnian Food Pantry in St. Louis. Once a week, this group collects food from local stores and donations, boxes it, and gives it to hungry people living in a local Bosnian community. I had helped at the pantry a few times before with my church and really liked what they did. That year I raised about $200. With the money I bought pastries and went down to the pantry. I passed them out and to talked to the people waiting to pick up their food. The remainder of the money was given directly to the pantry.
My second year, I decided to give the money to The East Asia Institute. This is an organization started by Greg Mortenson (author of Three Cups of Tea, and Stones Into Schools). They build schools in Eastern Asia, specifically in communities that would otherwise have no education for children, especially girls. I raised even more money this year and gave about $250.
My third year was by far my most successful year in St. Louis. Word was starting to get around and people I hardly knew were starting to ask about my fudge. I bought more pans and started making at least one batch of fudge every day after school. I donated all of the money I raised to Heifer International, which you can read more about in the tab About Heifer International. I raised just over $500 in profit to give to Heifer, enough money to buy a heifer and honeybees.
This past year was especially difficult because I had recently moved from my home in St. Louis to the Chicago area. I was worried about sales and many people from St. Louis still wanted fudge. To solve this problem I created this website, and started mailing fudge back home to St. Louis. I was still worried about how much I would manage to sell, but my worries were all misguided because we more than tripled my income from last year! I was hardly able to keep up with the orders and was making three batches everyday after school to keep up with my delivery dates. It all payed off though because we raised $1,500, and bought three heifers through Heifer International!
In 2012 Sweet Charity Fudge grew a lot. With my move to the Chicago area I doubled my market. I could not keep up with the demand, so I started seeking new options for 2013. I contacted a lawyer so Sweet Charity could become a registered LLC. The lawyer who helped me knew someone who worked in the packaging industry, who helped me get higher quality packaging and new labels. The packing distributor had connections with someone at Long Grove Confectionery, a private label candy maker in the Chicago area. There, they gave me a tour and offered to make my recipe in the factory at cost for a year! This was an incredibly exciting opportunity because now I didn’t have to make all of the fudge in small batches in my kitchen. I started marketing and increasing sales. I believe God sent me these professionals who had connections, resources, and generous hearts to help grow Sweet Charity Fudge to the next level.
2014 and Beyond!
We have continued growing every year and now sell fudge online and in stores. Sales have also increased every year and we continue to donate to Feed My Starving Children.