I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a hot cocoa stand, and this fall I was finally able to run one down at my neighborhood park! It was really fun setting everything up. I got to meet new people, make hot chocolate with different toppings, and serve homemade apple pie.

I asked people for donations because I am concerned about homelessness in the community. There is a project in my local community called Change-Up Campaign. The idea behind the Change-Up Campaign is a donation system that supports long-term solutions for homelessness by allowing community professionals to help provide people in need with necessary resources and services including food, health care, transportation, and help to find work.

To learn more about Change Up, you can watch a video at You can also donate to this cause by texting ChangeUp to 44321. I was able to raise $141 that I am going to donate to Change-Up on Thanksgiving along with some of my pocket money.

I really appreciate the generosity of the community. One person drove by, hopped out of their car and handed me some money for the stand, and said to give the next cup of cocoa for free to the next person. Then everyone started doing the same thing and I had a domino of people “paying it forward.” When I next run the stand the first person will be able to get a free cup!

Next time, there are a few things that I would do differently including putting more posters up beforehand, putting individual invites on neighbors’ doormats, and figuring out a way to replenish the thermos if I ran out of hot cocoa.

I love working with the community and I’m looking forward to when I can get out and have another fundraiser stand!

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