At the age of 15, Sarah Nelson is closing her baking business.
Sarah has become well-known and greatly admired in the Sault as the owner/operator of her own baked goods business, from which she donated a large amount of money to local charities.
“I decided to retire (from the business) since I’m going into Grade 10 in September, and balancing school and outside activities along with the business just got to be a lot,” Sarah told SooToday.
Sarah started her baking business in June 2011, at the age of eight.
“Everyone in my family has baked, so I grew up learning it, and a lot of people in my family have their own businesses.”
Upon starting her sweet treat business, she decided to donate half her earnings to charity.
“I’ve always enjoyed helping others and giving back to them, and being charitable.”
“After seven years in business and raising over $55,000 dollars for local Sault Ste Marie charities and Sarah's education fund, we have decided to close her business down for good. Sarah will be job searching starting in the fall and starting grade 10. She is turning into an amazing young woman. We would like to thank all of her supporters over the last seven years. Without you cheering her on and donating, this would never have been a success,” wrote Kristen Breckinridge, Sarah’s Mom, in a Facebook post.
“I’m extremely proud of my daughter,” Kristen told SooToday.
Approximately 50 per cent of the $55,000 raised by Sarah has gone to her postsecondary education fund, with $30,000 having gone to various good causes in the Sault, including Project Lifesaver, Sault Search and Rescue, the Autism Canada Foundation, the Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen Community Centre, Pedals for Possibilities, YMCA Strong Kids, ARCH and several other fundraisers.
Approximately $17,000 went to ARCH, Kristen estimated.
For her work, Sarah has received many kudos (including a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012) and heard many good news stories.
“It makes me feel pretty good...it makes me feel good to know I was able to help other people in the community. I’ve heard a lot of stories from different places,” Sarah said.
Word about Sarah’s work got around, and she was offered a modelling opportunity in Florida as well as a chance to appear on U.S. comedian Steve Harvey’s talk show, but Kristen decided against it.
“I just wanted to keep her local,” Kristen said.
While Sarah is mulling over what career choice she will make (“I know I don’t want to be in an office,” she stated), Kristen said “I don’t want to pressure her (but) I think she’s going to be a helping hand, in humanitarian work, I can see her going in to that kind of field.”