Selling shades of purple to the West Linn-Wilsonville community
Even though the West Linn Lavender Girls might be a small group of young students, their efforts are not.
The Lavender Girls are a group of eight West Linn High School and Athey Creek and Rosemont Ridge middle school students that create lavender-themed gifts for their annual sale that benefits the Children's Cancer Association.
The sale, started 11 years ago by two recently graduated WLHS students, has raised more than $15,000 to benefit youth struggling with serious illnesses.
"I think it's fun that you can dolittle things can help people in big ways," said Athey Creek seventh grader Scarlett Cook.
The first year of the sale, the original Lavender Girls sold bundles of lavender that was already being grown in their yard, to their neighbors. Since then, the sale has grown to include more products like purple jewelry — the official CCA color — lavender-flavored desserts and bath products.
Incoming WLHS freshman Norah Graham, who joined Lavender Girls 10 years ago and recently took a leadership role, said knowing what the money goes toward and how it helps individual children is humbling.
One year, she said the money raised went toward a horse rental for a girl who wanted to see a unicorn. CCA put a horn on the horse and the girl had an opportunity to meet and pet the animal. Graham also recalls the money once being able to purchase a cowboy hat for a young boy.
"That's all he wanted so we got him that," she said.
Two years ago, the funds raised from the sale purchased a teenage boy, who had lost most of his muscle mass because of his illness, a yearlong gym membership.
This year, the crew, which is mostly new, is selling items including dried lavender bundles they picked from a local farm, neck warmers, dog blankets, sachets, hair scrunchies and necklaces.
"It's fun to make things and sell it and just hang out with the girls," said Mackenzie Smith, incoming WLHS freshman.
Angie Nelson, also an incoming WLHS freshman, enjoys the leadership component of the event, and coming up with new ideas for crafts to sell.
"You have to make your own stuff at home so you have to take your time and you have to make it," Nelson said. "Then you can feel good when it sells and you're helping out some person, so I like coming up with different ideas of what to sell."
New this year are donations from local stores. Smith's Tea donated a lot of tea so the girls could make a lavender iced tea and Happy Candles will provide candles. The girls will then raffle off gift baskets filled with various purple goodies.
The sale will be expanded from one to two days from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 17 and 18 at the Dutch Bros parking lot in the River Falls Shopping Center on Blankenship Road.
"When I went to the CCA office, I saw a pic of this little boy that passed away a few years ago but we knew the family and he was someone that CCA helped," Graham said. "It's kind of cool to see that because he could have been one of the people that we helped with the money we raised."