‘Salsa girls’ raise money for starving children

Olivia Erdman, left, and best friend Taylor Williams, enjoy making mild salsa for a good cause at home in Rush City. The 12-year-olds sell the salsa to raise money for the Feed My Starving Children organization. Photo by Jon Tatting

By Jon Tatting

Best friends Olivia Erdman and Taylor Williams of Rush City are trying to make a difference, one jar of mild salsa at a time.

It was over Christmas break when 12-year-old Olivia began thinking about a cause to support with a portion of the money she earned throughout the year. The idea was suggested by her mother, Shari, during a family trip across the state.

“We encouraged them (their children) to find a cause they believed in that would help meet people’s physical needs (food, shelter, clothing) and their spiritual needs as well,” said Olivia’s father, Kim Erdman, who many in Rush City know as a school teacher and coach.

Olivia ultimately decided on Feed My Starving Children, a Twin Cities metro-based Christian organization committed to eliminating starvation in children throughout the world. And it’s a cause she’s familiar with and has grown to love since the days she helped package food for FMSC with members of the Rush City girls fast pitch softball team, which is coached by her father.

Yet Olivia still needed a plan — until it presented itself last month when best friend and fellow sixth grader Taylor was over and they wanted to make salsa. “I thought it would be fun to help raise money with her,” said Taylor.

So they became partners, created their own flyers and have since enjoyed making the good stuff from Olivia’s kitchen. The mild concoction is sold in either pint-sized jars ($6 apiece) or quart-sized jars ($12). “What doesn’t fit in the jar, dad eats,” smiled Olivia.

But Dad and family aren’t the only ones enjoying the salsa. The girls’ door-to-door pitch for a good cause also has been a hit with neighbors and the community.

“I am so proud of these two young ladies and their generosity,” said Kim. “They are truly amazing. We are so blessed to have such good neighbors and a great community. Times are tough and still people manage to give to those who are less fortunate.”

The salsa girls sold $65 the first day and have more than doubled that today. Their goal, says Olivia, is to raise $250 by March, so they can personally deliver the money with the softball team’s visit to the Feed My Starving Children office in March.

“God has spoken to me and helped me through this,” said Olivia. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

Actually, Olivia may be embarking on another fundraising project soon, as she has shown interest in a church missions trip to Washington D.C. She noted the experience could involve helping out at soup kitchens and teaching vacation Bible school to the children there.

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