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 decided to make and sell fudge!
That first year, I had many problems I had to overcome, like getting the consistency right and keeping track of all of my money and receipts. This was the first project that my parents didn’t help me pay for. Even now I am still learning these things and more, but the business has grown so much since I was an eleven year old who could hardly pour the full pan of fudge. God has blessed me with incredible opportunities that have grown Sweet Charity beyond what I could have ever imagined!
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 learn about here. I raised just over $500 in profit to donate, enough money to buy a heifer and some 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 soon found my worries misguided when we tripled income from the previous year! I was hardly able to keep up with the orders and was making three batches everyday after school to keep up with delivery dates. All hard work paid off when 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 and Sweet Charity became 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. With this time I started focusing on marketing and increasing sales. This year we began donating to Feed My Starving Children, which you can read about here.
2014 and Beyond!
We have continued growing every year and now sell fudge online, in stores, and at local holiday events. I am now working from college in Tennessee and selling at home in Chicago, and Sales have also increased every year and we continue to donate to Feed My Starving Children!