Teen raises thousands for Hospice with annual bake sale

March 02, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Lauren Taylor is just 16 years old, but she focuses much of her time and energy on end-of-life care.

For about four years, she has raised money for Hospice of the Panhandle in Martinsburg, W.Va., with an annual bake sale. Lauren, who lives in Martinsburg, said she has raised more than $10,300 that has gone into a special needs fund.

Hospice is a private nonprofit community program that provides in-home services, bereavement support, and education and training.

"The special needs fund sets aside money for needs or wants that insurance doesn't cover," the Martinsburg High School sophomore said.

The bake sale is held for two days every summer, and last summer's sale raised the most in its four-year run - $2,796.45.


The money has bought candy bars for someone with a sweet tooth, a new air conditioner for a patient with a chronic breathing disorder and new sheets for a man dying of cancer who couldn't afford them.

"It's actually come to be that our money that we give to Hospice is one of the main sources of funds for the special needs fund," Lauren said. "It just makes the end of life a lot better. I don't see why I shouldn't help if I can."

She said that because of government privacy policies, the number of patients who have benefited from the special needs fund is unknown.

The amount of money she has raised each summer has increased, as has the amount of baked goods she makes and sells. Lauren and a few friends she enlists to help bake about half of what she sells, and volunteers do the rest, she said.

"We bake for about two weeks straight," she said. "Last year, we made something like 100 loaves of bread. We have two large freezers we fill with stuff. There's a lot of food."

Lauren and two of her friends were named the 2006 Young Philanthropists of the Year by the Eastern Panhandle Community Foundation. The organization gave the girls a $500 grant, which they donated to the special needs fund for Hospice.

Lauren also was named a distinguished finalist 2007 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for her community service activities.

The daughter of Chuck and Lori Taylor said she plans to continue raising money for Hospice until she graduates from high school.

"And then, I'll hopefully pass the torch to my younger sister, Jenna Taylor, and get her to continue," she said.

If you want to help

To help with Lauren Taylor's fundraising, send a check to Hospice of the Panhandle and indicate the donation is for the bake sale. The address is:

Hospice of the Panhandle
122 Waverly Court
Martinsburg, WV 25403

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