Special to The Oregonian By Cornelia Seigneur, Special to The Oregonian 

At Christmas Earlene Beko decided to do something different for her seven grandchildren — give them each 50 dollars and a challenge: use the money to help someone else. They had till Easter.  

    “I thought, Christmas is such a time of ‘getting’ for kids, so wouldn’t it be nice to encourage my grandchildren to give; to experience the joy of giving back to others,” the West Linn grandmother said, adding, “I felt inspired by God to do this.”

“There was one rule. They couldn’t spend it on themselves.”

    The kids were creative in their endeavors, from assisting a dog shelter to helping fund a scholarship for a child to attend a sports camp.  

    But, one of the children’s efforts stood out in a sweet way.

    Nine-year-old Alyssa Garvey of Keizer Oregon started a business with her $ 50 called “Lulu’s Scrumptious Cupcakes.”

    “Lulu’ is my nickname and ‘Scrumptious’ because they were really really good,” she says. 

    The enterprise netted $163, which she donated to the Health and Dental Services Center of the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties.

    With additional donations from others inspired by Alyssa’s story, that dollar amount grew to $2600 for the dental clinic. Two other large donations in Alyssa’s name amounted to an additional $ 3000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties.

    Alyssa had received a baking set for her ninth birthday in February, which gave her the idea of how to use her Christmas money: Purchase baking ingredients and cupcake holders, bake cupcakes and sell them to neighbors, friends, and her mom’s co-workers.

    She created flyers to announce her cause and went around the neighborhood handing them out. Oh, and she brought along a plate to sample the scrumptious treats.

    That is all it took. With four flavors to choose from — lemon, chocolate, strawberry and cherry chip — offered at the price of two mini cupcakes for a dollar or one large cupcake for a dollar, she collected pre-orders. One was for five dozen scrumptious cupcakes for an office party. One person gave 20 dollars for a dozen of Lulu’s cupcakes.

    “Everyone liked the mini ones best,” Alyssa smiled. “One day, I made over 200 cupcakes. My mom and I baked and frosted cupcakes from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.”

    Her favorite part was frosting them using a hand decorator with different tips. Brother Luke, 10, was the taster. His favorite was chocolate and Alyssa’s favorite was the lemon. 

    Alyssa’s mom, Debbie Garvey, is the Associate Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties.  

    “I like to hang out at the Boys & Girls Club and help my mom,” the 9-year-old explained, “so; I decided to give my money to them.”

    After she donated the $163 to the Girls & Boys Aid Society, she was asked to give a speech at an upcoming luncheon about her efforts.

    “Alyssa spoke in front of 400 people at a campaign luncheon, sharing how one person can make a difference,” her mom said.

    Word got out to their next door neighbor, a vegetarian food blogger and mom  of two girls,  Sarah Matheny,  <cq> who wrote about it on her blog, “Peas and Thank You.” She challenged her readers to donate to the Boys & Girls Club.

    She even offered an incentive: five people who donated would get their names placed in a drawing to win a batch of Matheny’s peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough balls.

    “When I heard about what she had done, I really wanted to do something to help her, not only for her, but to show my daughters that if your heart is in the right place, and you work hard, you can absolutely make a difference in the lives of others,” said Matheny, whose daughters are ages 3 and 6. “I knew my readers would want to be a part of this. Wow, how people gave!”

    Alyssa’s $ 163 grew to $ 2600 due to Matheny’s challenge on her blog.

    And, she added, “Readers told me that Alyssa inspired them to donate their time and money to organizations in their own communities and to get their children involved in doing the same.”  http://peasandthankyou.com/2011/05/10/the-hero-next-door/

    Indeed, young Alyssa has inspired many.

   “We’re grateful and amazed at the efforts and compassion Alyssa has made, and by the continual response her contribution has generated through ‘Peas and Thank You’ to help us serve those students who need us most,” said Jodi Loper, the Health and Dental Services Center Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties.

   Grandma Earlene couldn’t be more pleased with her granddaughter: “Oh, my it’s awesome, I am so proud of her, it’s pretty special,” she said. “I’m very surprised at all the people who joined in to help.”

   “Kids can do so much good in the world,” she added. “When you see a child doing good, as adults, you want to follow.”

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Original story found in print edition of The Oregonian, Tuesday May 31, 2011


And, I reposted it on my WriterMom Oregonlive.com blog at:


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