Getting Bigger – and BRIGHTer!

This is a story about a little idea that keeps getting bigger.

It started on a recent Friday with four children – Grayce Bell, 11, her siblings Alayna, 9, and Ethan, 5, and their friend Addison Allen, 10.

The kids were helping their Grandma Nancy (McMillan) organize BRIGHT Run face masks.

They had already planned to have a lemonade stand at their neighbourhood park. Mom Nicole Bell had recently made sugar cookies, which were sitting in the fridge.

What if, they wondered, we made it a pink lemonade stand? What if, they thought, we decorated the cookies in pink and sold them with the lemonade? And maybe Grandma Nancy would let us sell some masks.

Within a few hours, they had raised more than $300 for the BRIGHT Run. And they had decided to start a BRIGHT team, Pink on Jake, named after their street in Niagara Falls. Grayce is the captain.

Since that first effort, the team’s four founding members, plus other neighbourhood kids, have raised over $3,000.

Dad Craig Bell says the cookie business has become like an assembly line, with kids from the neighbourhood working together – with a strong emphasis on masked faces and thoroughly washed hands – to create beautiful decorations on the cookies Nicole bakes until late into the evening.

“We have participated in the BRIGHT Run almost every year with Nancy’s team,” Craig said. “This year, the kids are really understanding the importance of it and they’re realizing what they can achieve through teamwork.”

Craig and Nicole say the pandemic and its effects have been hard for the kids in their neighbourhood and the Pink on Jake project has helped bring them together.

The team plans to continue their fundraising in the neighbourhood park and has been taking cookie orders through Facebook. Nicole ran out of supplies and approached a couple of grocery stores for donations. She received gift cards from each store to replenish her baking and decorating supplies.

“Neighbours are also bringing over eggs,” she said. “People want to be involved.”

The team grows in size a bit each day. There are a couple of adults, but most team members are children.

And on Sept.12, Pink on Jake will be out in full force for a neighbourhood walk, resplendent in pink. They want to make it a really fun time in the face of COVID-19. And we’re sure they will!