Cupcakes For Christ sells cupcakes for mission trip
VINTON–For most people, church fundraisers bring to mind potluck dinners and car washes. But New Testament Baptist Church members Cori Swanson and Kendra Meek have a different, and tastier, way to raise money. Their way involves moist cake, homemade icing, and, sometimes, a cherry filling.
The two college students run Cupcakes for Christ, a business they created to fund a 2011 mission trip to Uganda.
The business is just one of many items on their plate right now. The two teenagers are incredibly busy. Swanson, a freshman at Liberty University, is living in Lynchburg, and hopes to one day become a missionary. Meek, meanwhile, is technically still a high school senior, though she is homeschooled and has already finished her classes. She is currently dually-enrolled full-time at Virginia Western Community College to receive her personal trainer certification, while simultaneously holding down two jobs.
Their schedules are packed full. Yet they still make time for their passions: worshipping God, and spreading his word to others.
Meek’s older sister first informed the two about the annual trip to Uganda, run through Rick Via World Reach Ministries. Her sister has gone on the expedition several times, and is married to Via’s son; they will go to Uganda again in 2011. When Meek mentioned the trip to Swanson, they both felt called to Africa as well, to spread the word of God.
“We both have a huge heart for missions,” Swanson said.
As for the location, the two can’t say they aren’t nervous about it. For Swanson, while she has been on a mission trip to Alaska, she has never left the United States.
“So it’s a huge thing for me—and it’s Africa,” Swanson said.
Meek also spent a lot of time praying before committing to the trip. For her, though, seeing the poverty on her first foreign mission in Mexico two years ago changed her perspective, and motivated her to action.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Why Africa?’” Meek said.
Seeing her sister’s photos from previous trips, and hearing that the missionaries will deliver much-needed medical supplies to the villages in Uganda, Meek knew in her heart that she was needed.
“God told me it was time to stop sitting around and go,” Meek said.
While the location necessitated prayer, another concern about the trip to Uganda was how they would raise the money. The trip costs approximately $3,390 per person: quite a hefty price tag for college students. Tossing around ideas, they decided on a bake sale. Soon their bake sale idea evolved into one for an ongoing business.
“I thought we should make it a company,” Meek said.
They chose cupcakes for a number of reasons.
“Cupcakes make people happy,” Swanson said.
Now the Washington Avenue church’s kitchen is “where the magic happens,” according to Meek. The two, who bake once or twice a week, use tweaked recipes and make their own frostings for the cupcakes. They have even been experimenting with flavors, and adding fillings to the cupcakes, such as cherry and mint chocolate.
Their first sale was at the church on a Sunday, and they sold out in 15 minutes, making $200. Since then, they have taken personal orders for events— for their first, a bridal shower, they baked for more than 12 hours straight—and have sold their concoctions at a Christian store in Tanglewood Mall. They also hope to begin selling at coffee shops soon.
They have found so much success that they are considering continuing Cupcakes for Christ after their mission trip is paid for.
“And it’s not just a fundraiser for us,” Meek said. “It’s a way to minister.”
“Because cupcakes make everyone smile,” Swanson said.
Meek and Swanson accept orders through email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and through their Facebook page, called Cupcakes for Christ. One hundred percent of their profits go towards the mission trip to Uganda.