Veterans Club bake sale

From left, fourth-graders Ava Peterson, Emma Knutsen, Carly Twardy, Evan Behnke, and Anna Sorgratz spontaneously formed a Veterans Club with the mission of helping wounded veterans. They held a bake sale last week at Lake Ripley Elementary, raising $203 for Soldiers’ Angels, a national organization that assists and supports veterans, wounded heroes, and deployed service members and their families.

A small group of fourth-grade students wore their hearts on their sleeves as they dished out homemade baked goods last week in an effort to provide aid and comfort to men and women of the United States military.

Selling brownies, Christmas cookies, cupcakes, lemon bars, and muffins by the dozen and half dozen, the five classmates collectively raised $203 for the national Soldiers’ Angels organization during a bake sale Friday morning at Lake Ripley Elementary.

With a mission to help wounded veterans, Litchfield students Evan Behnke, Emma Knutsen, Ava Peterson, Anna Sorgatz, and Carly Twardy spontaneously started their very own Veterans Club during recess after attending a Veterans Day program in November. They held meetings on the playground and agreed to organize a bake sale as a fundraiser for Soldiers’ Angels, which provides volunteer “Angels” to assist and to support veterans, wounded heroes, and deployed service members and their families.

Twardy, who helped recruit members to the Veterans Club, said she chose Soldiers’ Angels as the beneficiary because she read on its website that donations assist wounded veterans, whom she feels “need the most help.”

Each student chose a homemade treat item to contribute to the bake sale, and with the help of teacher Aaron Schmitbauer, they created an order form that was sent to Lake Ripley staff. The response was “big and very supportive,” said parent Stacy Sorgatz, who noted that the students organized the club and discussed holding a fundraiser all on their own. “This idea was 100 percent kid generated, and almost all of the work (had) been done by these kids, as they all enjoy baking,” she said. “I think this is an outstanding example of kids having their hearts in the right place.”

The baked goods were distributed to staff before school Friday morning. To their delight, the students received compliments on their sweet creations and words of praise for their selfless acts of kindness.

You guys did an awesome job! I’m really proud of you!

These look so good!

Look at these cookies! They’re works of art!

“People have fought really hard in the war to help us be free,” Behnke said of his desire to give back to veterans and current military personnel.

“Veterans are important because they served for us,” said Knutsen.

“They fought for us,” said Peterson.

“They’re important to everybody,” Sorgatz said.

“I wanted to help our veterans because they’ve served our country and saved our freedom,” Twardy said. “They risked their lives for our freedom and for us to be safe.”

For students, giving back was both fun and rewarding.

“Ah, the fun that I had making them,” Behnke said of his Christmas cookies. “I just liked spending time with my mom making the cookies...frosting them.”

“I just liked raising money for the veterans so they can get better,” Knutsen said. “I just like doing business things, and I really wanted to help the veterans because I like helping people, and it makes me feel good.”

“I just liked helping them — raising money so they can like get better, because they fought for us,” Peterson said.

“I got to bake. I like lemon, so I chose to make something with lemon in it,” Sorgatz said of her lemon bars. “We all like baking, so that’s why we picked baking.”

The students were pleased when their fundraising total, which included some additional monetary donations from school staff, was revealed.

“Holy cow; that’s a lot!” said Knutsen.

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