These fifth-grade girls started “Glam Cafe” to raise funds to help the needy through CarePortal. From left are: Emma Gullette, Harper Raffety, Wesley-Claire LaFont, Ella Stroup, SEMO CarePortal Regional Manager Shelly Gerard with daughter Dixie (6), Isabel Jones, Vita Claire Galati, Elle West and Caroline Moon. Submitted photo
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Fifth graders open ‘Glam Cafe’ to help the needy

by Elane Moonier ~ Features Editor

A group of fifth graders set out to do a good deed and ended up having so much fun they decided to repeat the experience, not once, but twice. The eight girls are all good friends, and Amy Jones, the mother of Isabel, suggested the group create a project to help an organization called CarePortal.

CarePortal is a non-profit organization that serves as a portal between Child Welfare Services and local churches who are willing to offer help to local children and families in distress. This assistance can be in the form of support or material needs for the families and often something just as basic as providing food for them.

The girls would often cook when they were together, so they thought it would be fun to prepare breakfast  for friends and family and receive donations that would be given to CarePortal.

They chose a name for their cafe by taking the first letter from some of their last names and putting them together to form Glamor Cafe, which they then shortened to Glam Cafe. The girls are Harper Raffety, Isabel Jones, Caroline Moon,Vita Claire Galati, Ella Stroup, Emma Gullette, Wesley-Claire LaFont and Elle West.

Harper’s parents, Gina and Tom, offered the use of their garage for the team to set up their cafe operation.

Caroline spearheaded the menus and decorated each one in true Glam fashion. The girls worked hard converting the garage into a cafe, setting up tables with place setting and fresh flowers in preparation for their big day. They decided to serve some of each families’ breakfast recipes.

Parents pitched in with some food donations, and Emma’s parents helped with extra waffle irons and coffee pots. The girls planned who would be hostess, who would wait tables and who would help prepare food and wash dishes.

Harper, as it turned out, loves to cook, and she ended up doing a great deal of the food preparation, along with some help from her mom, Gina, and Emma’s mom also helped too. They shopped for the supplies they thought they would need and got ready for the big day the Glam Cafe would be open. Gina kept the receipts for everything that was purchased to show the girls how much profit was actually made.

Isabel said they were pretty nervous on the Sunday morning they opened for business, hoping the customers would show up for their delicious breakfast. But their fears were calmed when friends and family came to dine at Glam Cafe, and business was booming.

Harper got busy in the kitchen, and the rest of the team were all involved with their particular tasks. They had enough diners that they soon ran out of eggs, and they had to scramble around, asking the neighbors to loan them a few to help out. Harper said she had no idea they would need that many eggs.

After a successful morning of serving breakfast to friends and family, the girls were excited to find they had earned some money for their cause. Plus, they enjoyed the experience of Glam Cafe so much that they decided to do it again just a few weeks later.

The second time around, they were less nervous and more prepared, which was a very good thing because they had many more customers show up. “We almost had a heart attack when we saw how many people were coming,” Harper said. “Good thing we had a lot of people helping out and working in the kitchen.”

After the last customer left, the girls found they had earned $231 for their work and they were very pleased. One of the parents matched their donation and paid utility bills for area families.

The following week, Shelly contacted Gina about some needs. They took the money they collected and shopped for groceries to give to two needy lies working through CarePortal.

Gina took the girls to Save-a-lot grocery store in Cape Girardeau, and all of them took part in the shopping spree. They had not tallied up the cost of the groceries as they added items off the shelf to the cart, so they were not sure how much they had spent. They were completely surprised when the cashier totaled the bill, and it came to $230.82, almost the exact amount they had earned.

Gina said she was so shocked when she saw the receipt that tears welled up in her eyes. Vita Claire was standing next to her to help pay the bill, and when she saw they had just enough, she said “Wow!” They both agreed it was a God thing because it could never have happened otherwise.

With all the groceries in hand, the team of girls were very happy to deliver them to two families in the community who were referred through CarePortal.

Isabel and Harper said that plans are already underway for the next Glam Cafe, and all the girls are excited about doing it again. Harper said this might be a career path for her because she enjoyed it so much. “One of my friends said she wouldn’t be surprised if I had an actual business like this in New York some day,” she said.

The next Glam Cafe will be held at Walden Park to accommodate more guests, but a date has not yet been set. For more information about the date, call 979-2143.The girls are students at St. Vincent School or Prodigy Leadership Academy in Cape Girardeau.

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