Cloverdale’s Jenna Prem and her mom Nicole have been hard at work in the kitchen, baking up hundreds of homemade holiday treats in a seventh-annual fundraiser for children at Canuck Place.
Now 14, Jenna was just eight years old when she wanted a way to give back at Christmas time and started looking into different charities.
Canuck Place Children’s Hospice grabbed her immediately, because of its heartrending mission: to offer a home near hospitals for sick and terminally-ill children and their families.
Every holiday season, she seeks donations of baking supplies – flour, sugar, eggs – from local grocery stores so all of her profits can go directly to the kids.
She and her mom bake three weeks straight. Last year, they turned out an impressive 800 tarts, 700 Nanaimo Bars, 800 shortbread cookies, and 800 marshmallow squares.
The grandmas helped out, too; one was enlisted to bake 400 snowball cookies. The other (and a friend from church) helped Jenna bake a “whole lot” of tiger butter.
The results required a borrowed, big deep freezer to store all the baking.
She sells trays of treats to a steady supply of customers, pumping all of the profits into Christmas gifts for kids at Canuck Place. She also uses the profits to buy restaurant and other gift cards for parents.
This year, 140 trays were ordered.
“I love doing my bake sale,” Jenna writes on her new website, Caring for Canuck Kids. “It has grown so much over the years, and I hope it gets bigger and bigger every year.” She once had a schoolmate who stayed at Canuck Place for end of life care, and she’s witnessed first-hand how he and his family were helped through such a difficult time.
Her baking trays have sold out for Christmas 2015 (no surprise) but she’s asking supporters to consider donating to Canuck Place.
She’s set up a fundraising page, and all the money will go to the recreation program for children and families. She’s also accepting donations on behalf of Canuck Place of items like gift cards, new books, toys, games or craft supplies. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It warms her heart to know that people are learning about Canuck Place and what it does for children and families through her efforts in the kitchen.
Last year, she helped raise $3,720, money she used to buy new toys and gifts for the children staying there, and their families.
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. She was invited to opening day at the Abbotsford Canuck Place, and attended a tree lighting event at Vancouver Canuck Place. Last month she was honoured as a Hammer’s Hero at a Canuck game, when she got to meet defenceman Dan Hamhuis.
This year, she’s hoping to raise an additional $2,000 through her website, http://caringforcanuckplacekids.weebly.com