MARS — Success is sweet, so are students — particularly Mars Area High School Student Council students, who have spent their summer Saturdays helping others.
Cookies for a Cause is raising money for veterans who live in St. John Specialty Care Center through weekly baked goods sales at the Woodland Valley Church Farmers' Market.
Mars Area senior Jenna Sutton planned the fundraiser with her younger brother, John.
“John and I first thought of this project out of remembrance for our grandfather, who was a veteran,” Jenna said.
CFAC began last year, with the Suttons setting a goal of raising $1,000 for St. John veterans.
“We reached that goal, raising $1,348,” Jenna said.
The Suttons already had a stand at the Woodland Valley Farmers' Market and sold baked goods, vegetables and honey. According to Jenna, starting up another stand wasn't difficult.
Since the Suttons bake cookies — chocolate swirl cookies and gingersnaps — every week, it was easy to figure out what to sell.
“All cookies are homemade,” Jenna said. “Every week, we usually have gingersnaps, peanut butter chocolate swirls, chocolate chips, snickerdoodles and either peanut butter or oatmeal raisin.”
CFAC involves all of student council, although the number of volunteers was slim when the Suttons started the fundraiser.
This year, according to Jenna, there are numerous students who help each Saturday. They're making CFAC successful.
“Like a normal business, the success of a charity is all about marketing and organization,” Jenna said. “If people do not know what your cause is about, they will not spend money on that cause.”
For their regular stand, John and Jenna depended on each other to make sales. Having all of student council to help with CFAC has been a new journey.
“(It) has become a fun experience where we feel like we are making a difference in the world at the same time,” Jenna said. “We have also learned the value of other people's help.”
Jenna will be heading to college next summer to study biomedical engineering — she hopes to attend the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering.
John will take over CFAC. The Suttons — and student council — look forward to helping veterans well into the future.
“They are part of our local community,” Jenna said. “And are often overlooked and cut out of society due to their presence at the old folks' home.”
As of Saturday, student council had raised about $648. CFAC will continue every Saturday through Sept. 7.
The students will also sell cookies at Applefest.