CUPCAKES FOR SALE - Jayda Monilaws, nine-years-old, sold cupcakes out of her mom’s salon in support of the Central Alberta Humane Society. Michelle Falk/Lacombe Express

Nine-year-old raises thousands to help animals

Jayda’s annual fundraiser to make sizeable donation to the Central Alberta Humane Society

Nine-year-old, Jayda Monilaws raised $4,400.80 for the Central Alberta Humane Society at her fifth annual cupcake fundraiser held late last month.

“We were trying to think of something that I could do (to give back) and I’ve always loved animals so we thought I could bake cupcakes,” said Monilaws.

This is not child’s play—Jayda’s cupcake fundraiser has grown into an event that brings donors in from outside the city. For the past five years, Monilaws and her mom have baked up a storm in support of the local shelter.

Last year she donated $3,010.50 for the Society.

Monilaws has been passionate about caring for her furry friends from a very young age. She started doing the fundraiser when she was just in kindergarten.

“She has always had a heart for helping animals and wants to make a difference,” said Jayda’s mom, Nicki Monilaws. “She’s my crazy, little cat lady.”

In 2014, Jayda, then four-years-old, was discouraged that she was too young to volunteer with her mom.

“I was always jealous because my mom helped out with the homeless shelter,” Jayda said.

Desperate to find a way to help animals, Jayda registered to host her own event through the Central Alberta Humane Society.

“I’ve always stressed the importance of volunteering and giving back to your community,” said Nicki.

Every cent of the funds raised at Jayda’s sale go directly to the Central Alberta Humane Society, and her team donates all their time and the cost of baking supplies.

Nicki has hosted Jayda’s Annual Cupcake Fundraiser at her hair salon, Mane Attraction for the past five years, but she doesn’t think that will be sustainable if the event keeps growing at the current rate.

“It has been crazy—it’s definitely grown way larger than we ever expected. I am already thinking next year I will not be able to do it at my salon, we will have to get a venue and more help baking,” Nicki said.

The first year Jayda’s Cupcake Fundraiser brought in $96.50 for the Society. In 2015, it raised $819.80, in 2016 they raised $1,433.50 and last year, the fundraiser generated $3,010.50.

“It’s not just salon clients, it’s people from all over who come to support,” said Nicki. “We get a decent amount from surrounding communities that pop by too.”

Jayda and her baking team made a variety of cupcake flavours for the event.

The most popular flavours are Oreo, lemon and strawberry shortcake, but Jayda’s favourite is a classic chocolate cupcake.

This year, Jayda and Nicki had six friends help them bake.

Nicki said it’s hard to keep track of the total number of cupcakes they sell because their baking team drops them off throughout the day. She aimed to make around 1,200 cupcakes this year.

Jayda is involved every step of the way, baking and decorating sweet treats. She said she likes the decorating part better than the baking.

Nicki said that no matter how many they make, they always sell out.

Jayda set an ambitious fundraising goal for this year, hoping to raise $5,000 to donate to the Central Alberta Humane Society. Her mom said Jayda is very happy she beat last year’s donation, and Jayda said she is just happy raising as much as she can to help the animals.

The young philanthropist said her favourite part of the annual event is to bring the cheque into the Central Alberta Humane Society and getting to see the look on their faces. And of course she gets to play with a few kitties while she’s there. You can see more photos of Jayda dropping off the cheque on the Facebook event page.

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