5-year-old raises over $1,000 for Toys for Tots with cupcake sales
WOODWAY, Texas (KWTX) - A five-year-old girl from Central Texas is continuing her Marine grandfather’s legacy of helping with Toys for Tots by donating over a $1,000 she made at a cupcake stand in her front yard.
Riley West, of Woodway, held the “Pumpkin Spice & Semper Fi” stand in late October in Woodway with the help of her family, including mom, Meagan and grandpa, James Wolfe, a retired Marine who has helped with Toys for Tots since 1984.
Megan says for as long as she can remember she helped with Toys for Tots and this year she wanted her daughter to experience that same joy of giving to others.
“I grew up Marine proud and it’s always been a very special ministry,” Meagan said.
“I always think it’s good to see a need, fill a need.”
Riley, who is homeschooled, has speech difficulties, her mom says and has been bullied because of it. Meagan thought the fundraiser would not only help out a great cause but boost her daughter’s confidence along the way.
Riley and her family baked dozens of pumpkin spice cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting for the big day, having no idea what to expect.
The cupcakes were $2 a piece or free to veterans or active-duty military but no one came without dropping a donation, it appeared.
The response was overwhelming.
In just a few hours, the little girl had raised $1000.56.
“People would come and give us $20 for a cup of coffee we sold for 50 cents,” Meagan said. “it was an unbelievable experience.”
The Marine Corps was so touched by Riley’s act that two uniformed Marine’s showed up and stood watch behind the little girl for the entire day-long sale.
Once the cake sale ended, Riley took the leftover cupcakes to local fire stations and the money raised to Toys for Tots.
While the cupcake stand ended, the giving did not.
A veteran who lived nearby heard about Riley’s efforts after being gifted cupcakes by his friend.
He and his wife mailed $20 with a letter that reads in part , “My husband Ronnie is a retired Marine. While serving in Vietnam he stepped on a landmine and lost both legs and a part of an arm. He loves sitting in the front yard. We live just a few blocks from you. If you see us out, stop by and give us a hello.”
Riley wanted to do more in the final push last week of the toy drive so she dumped all her money on the floor she’d been saving and asked her mom if she could give every last penny.
It was $25 and her mom matched it.
From that last $70, Riley picked out toys to donate last week.
Her mom chokes up when talking about the car ride to the KWTX studio to drop off the gifts.
“One of the best parts of all was when we got in the truck, she had a teddy bear, a Care Bear, she’d picked out to give away. I could tell she was sad because she loved the bear. She got in the truck and she was teary-eyed and I asked her if she was okay and she said ‘I’m really good. I’m just so happy.”
Riley’s family says they’re forever grateful to everyone who supported Riley and helped collect toys for the less fortunate. The family is already planning a bake sale for next year.
“I can’t wait to give again next year,” Riley told KWTX.
“It is definitely a new family tradition,” Meagan added.
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