These Kids Mean Business

Nora, Izzy, Tommy, Grace, Forrest, Emma, Kinsey and Maddie are all business when it comes to giving back to the community.

We’re happy to report that the future seems to be in good hands, especially based on the recent activities of some young entrepreneurs who go by the moniker “Kids Mean Business.”

The group of industrious 8- to 12-year olds approached their parents over the summer — including Leland Gal owner Maggie Revel — expressing an interest in making and selling some items in her store. Leland Gal often hosts local artists, Maggie explains, so the kids asked if they could get in on the action. Maggie agreed, but with one caveat: that they donate part of their earnings to a local charity. Fellow moms Sarah Mills of Leland’s Old Art Building, Meg Simpson of Good Harbor Vineyards, Heather Harrington of Life and Whim, and Nicole White from Dune Bird Winery were on board with the plan, as well.

So the ‘Kids Mean Business’ troupe of Nora, Izzy, Tommy, Grace, Forrest, Emma, Kinsey and Maddie got busy creating. By Labor Day Weekend they had an array of tie-died items, bracelets, notecards, Petoskey stones, jewelry, and perler bead creations. Maggie let them sell their wares on Labor Day from 10:00 AM until noon at Leland Gal, and the kids chose to share their profits with the outreach organization 5Loaves2Fish in Leland.

But rather than simply pop a check in the mail, the moms decided it would be beneficial to “close the loop” by having the kids visit 5Loaves2Fish at Leland’s Community United Methodist Church to see where their hard-earned money was going. They visited the organization’s bustling kitchen in mid-September, meeting co-founders Bill and Michelle White along with some of the volunteers who prepare and cook the meals that feed those struggling with homelessness and food insecurity in Traverse City and in Leelanau County.

After the kids’ visit, Bill and Michelle posted a note on the 5Loaves2Fish Facebook page, thanking the young entrepreneurs (and a couple of eager siblings) for sharing their time and talent.

“Thank you Nora, Izzy, Tommy, Eddie, Grace, Charlotte, Forrest, Emma, Kinsey and Maddie for your generosity and desire to make a difference in the world,” Bill and Michelle wrote. “Your donations will go to feeding more families. Keep it up! The world is a better place because of you.”

Maggie says she feels they can do “an even bigger job next time” and is confident the group and their efforts will grow. She envisions ‘Kids Mean Business’ hosting two sales a year — one over Memorial Day Weekend to benefit the local school and one over Labor Day Weekend to support 5Loaves2Fish. She also hopes that a group of kids and their parents might become regular volunteers at the kitchen one afternoon a week.

The future looks bright indeed.