Girls sells strawberries for adoption funds

Staff writer

Ella Tracy of rural Goessel is a small girl with a big heart for others. At eight years of age, she has already made hundreds of bookmarks and sold them to raise money for a special project. Now she is selling extra strawberry plants to support family friends wanting to adopt an international child.

“We have all these extra strawberry plants and I just wanted to do something with them,” she said. “At first I thought I would sell them for money for myself, but then I remembered this family from church that wants to adopt a child and I knew I wanted to give all the money I could make to help them get their boy home.”

Tracy is homeschooled and, along with her parents Jason and Sarah Tracy and two younger brothers, enjoys working in the family garden. In addition to strawberries, they grow broccoli, cauliflower, beans, cucumbers, sunflowers, beets, and carrots.

“I just love the strawberries,” she said. “We just planted these last year and they have spread everywhere, all over the edges.”

Tracy said a small bag of Ozark Beauty strawberry plants planted last year turned into a packed 3x8-foot bed this year that needs thinning out.

“At first we just dug up the plants that sent out runners over the edge,” she said. “We got over 100 plants that way. Now we are taking out the dead stuff from the actual bed and thinning out the extra plants. We already have 80 more to sell.”

Word of mouth generated dozens of orders for Tracy’s strawberry plants, and the first 100 plants she offered went fast.

“I already made $200,” she said. “I didn’t know people would want the plants that much.”

Tracy started selling her strawberries for $10 per 20-plant bag. However, they went so fast and she got so many new orders to fill, that she had to change her marketing plan to just 10 plants per bag.

“The plants I am selling now are much bigger than the first ones I sold,” she said. “I just hope I have enough for everyone who wants some.”

Tracy set a goal of raising $500 for her friends’ adoption fund. If she runs out of strawberry plants she has a back-up plan.

“I think we are going to make and sell some other home-made products, like bread, caramel, goat cheese, and goat milk ice-cream,” she said. “I love making the caramels; they are my favorite. You can put our homemade caramel on ice cream, in coffee, or on top of cinnamon rolls or apples. It’s so good.”

Tracy’s friends, Eric and Elizabeth Biggs, who are raising funds to bring home their adopted son in August or September, are thankful for Tracy’s assistance.

“It is so sweet that she is doing this,” Elizabeth Biggs blogged at www.holdingoutmyheart.blogspot. “Thank you, Ella.”

The Biggs family is trying to raise $25,000 to complete the adoption.

For Tracy, the chance to help is a sweet reward, almost as sweet as the berries she anticipates picking later this summer.

“Last year we only had five berries because they were new plants,” she said. “This year there will be tons. I can’t wait.”

Those who would like to order strawberry plants or homemade items from Tracy or contribute to her adoption fundraising project may email her parents at jasontracy72@hotmail.com.

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