Something You Should Know About... Sugar Wood and the Addy Skylar’s Fudge Fundraiser

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Addy Holmes helping to make the Addy Skylar's Strawberry Chocolate Fudge for the fundraiser.

by Hope Lee Vicich

You gotta love our community!  Even when we can’t gather together, we still come together to support a great cause.  There have been many examples in the past few weeks and months - community efforts in the wake of the tornados, helping the migrant workers who arrived before the plant could open, Ruby’s Pantry and the Food Pantry offering drive up service, and all the other accomodations to the current health crisis made by area businesses in order to serve the community.
Amongst all of these laudable efforts, one that stands out to me is a fundraising event championed by Chana Wood and her business, Sugar Wood.
For those who don’t know Chana, let me introduce you. Chana, her husband Jon and daughter’s Ava and Sophia, moved to Cumberland in 2013.
Chana called it a “leap of faith,” when they came here after Jon lost his job in the Twin Cities.  They had no plans - no jobs, no place to live, but Chana wanted to go “home,” and to Chana, that meant Cumberland.
Her childhood days were spent on her grandparents farm, watching Grandpa Ricci harvest his crops and milk the dairy cows, and her favorite memory of the hours she spent in the kitchen with grandma Donna.  It was the recipes she learned from her grandma that are the basis of the home business she created to get her family through those initial tough times. That’s how Sugar Wood was born.
Started as a hobby of baking for friends in the Cities, the cornerstone of Sugar Wood is Chana’s (or Grandma Donna’s) salted caramel, which is offered  either in pieces or layered on her mouth watering shortbread.  Christmas of 2013 saw Chana and her family short on cash so Chana decided to create a Christmas cookie box filled with Grandma Donna’s famous cookie recipes, fudge and caramel, which she poured over a crisp vanilla shortbread cookie. Somehow, the caramel shortbread fell into the hands of a buyer from Louie’s Finer Meats.  Soon her Sugar Wood sea salt topped caramel shortbread was sold there. Next they were picked up at Island Wine’s, Peter & Annie’s, and the Cumberland Hospital Gift Shop. Before she knew it, they were selling their products in stores across the country: California, Minnesota, and Iowa!
Chana’s line of products continues to expand, with seasonal specialties and new creations being added all the time. “The profound gratitude we feel for Cumberland is immeasurable,” Chana told me.  So when she saw the opportunity to help out a special member of our community, she jumped on it.
Daughter Ava is best friends with Addy Holmes. Addy, a seven year old from Cumberland, was recently diagnosed with a very rare form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Ava wanted to do something to help her friend. Here is how Chana tells the story:  “I remember when she came home from school, she so earnestly asked me if we could do “something nice” for Addy who was sick.
My initial reaction was to find a local fundraiser to give to or donate to their go-fund-me. I thought maybe Ava could make a homemade card or send Addy a toy - I was pondering as a “parent”- not as a “business owner.” But something in my heart told me to wait, and think more deeply about it. Something in my heart told me to put my “Sugar Wood owner” hat on and try to think of a way we could utilize our business resources to do something more.
And that’s when it happened.
Ava and I were brushing our teeth when I looked at her and said,” Hey! What if we made a special treat for Addy, named it after her and sold it?”
Ava plopped her toothbrush down, turned to me with a sparkle in her eyes and exclaimed, “YES! That’s IT! But she has to tell us what kind of treat she likes first because we can’t make something she wouldn’t eat. And she should get the money from it too Mom.”
And so “Addy Skylar’s Strawberry Chocolate Fudge” was born, made from Addy’s favorite flavors.  We ran a big ad in The Advocate and Chana got the word out on Facebook and her website about the special pre-order only event and it took off like wildfire!  
The Spot Bar donated 50 lbs. of chocolate chips to the project. Volunteers from the community came to Chana’s home/kitchen and helped make, package stamp and mail the hundreds of orders that came flooding in.  
When the fundraiser ended, the amazing total of $5,234.00 was reached.
Chana said that the whole experience has been “priceless to me. My daughter has been given a real life example of what it means to be in a community, what caring and loving people can do when we shine our lights together, and she is being taught that ANYTHING is possible.”
She went on to express her unending thanks to all the community members who volunteered. “No sales goal I will ever meet, no major retailer I will ever get into, no dollar amount I could ever profit from will EVER compare to this fundraiser and the power it held for my soul. I consider it my life’s greatest work so far. And I could not have done it without the volunteers.”
Even though the fudge is gone, your opportunity to help Addy’s cause has not.  If you would still like to help Addy and her family in their fight against cancer, you may drop off or mail a donation to Addy’s Fundraising Account, c/o Cumberland Federal Bank, 1390 Second Ave., PO Box 338, Cumberland, WI 54829.  
Thank you Chana and Ava.  Blessings and best wishes to Addy.  Your example HAS proven to the Cumberland community that, if we work together “ANYTHING is possible.”
Be Well. Be Safe. Be Kind.


Cumberland Advocate

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Cumberland, WI 54829
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