Ohio-based Youth Entrepreneurs Fight Hunger in their Hometown – One Pumpkin At A Time
Gabriella & Alexandrea Howard, Founders of Pumpkins Helping People
Fifteen-year-old Gabriella Howard, her sister Alexandrea, 13, and younger brother, Sam of Canal Winchester, OH are one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Their charitable organization, Pumpkins Helping People (PHP), is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to fight hunger through the sale and distribution of pumpkins.
Here’s what we learned about PHP’s business model:
Tell us about your non-profit.
Pumpkins Helping People offers a retail-based fundraising initiative – selling pumpkins. PHP partners with community food pantries to organize and promote an annual fall pumpkin drive in the pantry’s local community. By buying a pumpkin through PHP’s website, customers are supporting the local food pantry and farmers, from which the pumpkins are sourced from. PHP works hand-in-hand with the pantry to promote the pumpkin drive throughout the community. This promotion directs customers to our website through the use of social media and email marketing. We hope to use the local school system, sports associations, youth organizations, and churches to spread the word.
What inspired the creation of Pumpkins Helping People?
Our inspiration for creating PHP is to help fight hunger. We believe our non-profit is an innovative funding mechanism for food pantries and it has the potential to become highly successful due to our commitment to the customer, the food pantry, and the community.
How will Pumpkins Helping People impact the world?
Over 48 million Americans suffer from hunger, with over 32,000 American food pantries relying heavily on donations to help fight this hunger. The way our program is structured, all profits generated will go directly to help fund local food pantries’ operations and to help fight hunger. In 2017, our proof of concept enabled us to donate $669 to the Canal Winchester Food Pantry to help feed the local community.
What are the next steps for Pumpkins Helping People?
PHP is a scalable concept. Within three to five years, we anticipate extending PHP to other communities similar in size to Canal Winchesters’ (12,993 households) in Central Ohio and then throughout the state. We want PHP to become a national platform for consumers to purchase pumpkins to help fight hunger at the local level.
We recently designed and released a logo and are developing our online store. Once completed, we will begin promoting our website to the Canal Winchester community. In Fall 2018, we plan to strengthen our already established relationship with the Canal Winchester Food Pantry. Within the next two years, we will expand to three nearby similar-sized communities.
To stay abreast of Pumpkins Helping People’s progress in the i.Invest Competition, sign up for our newsletter at www.i-investcompetition.com. To mentor or provide support, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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