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Cookies, Plaster Creek and a Big Dream

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

We love to share stories of how our Grand Rapids Climate Witness Project partners are creatively working for creation care in our city! This story is from Stacey DeVries of how God used her young son’s big ambitions for investing in the clean-up of Plaster Creek.

/Ben Lei

Learn More about Plaster Creek Stewards

We love the work being done by Plaster Creek Stewards, and how they combine faith with practical climate care action. A program of Calvin University, Plaster Creek Stewards works to educate the community about watershed ecology, and to equip neighbors to take action to restore the watershed. Learn more about their education programsTo connect with other Grand Rapids based ecology resources, you can reach out to our regional organizer for the area.

Plaster Creek Stewards service event

Plaster Creek Stewards service event /Church of the Servant

I want to bake 100 cookies!” my 5-year-old announced over the noise of a crying baby and loud kitchen fan. I wanted a nap.

We were finally getting around to our goal of trying to help the animals of Plaster Creek, the 25.9-mile-long tributary of the Grand River that flows through our city. Plaster Creek brings my family countless hours of joy as we hike and bike on the trail near our home. 

Plaster Creek also happens to be the most contaminated creek in West Michigan. In fact, when coloring a picture of the creek, my son commented, “Shouldn’t the water be BROWN instead of blue?” And thus began our conversation on helping the river. My son specifically wanted to help the animals of Plaster Creek after learning that fish were dying because their home was dirty.

Picking up trash was one small thing we could do, but what else? I wondered about donating money to the Plaster Creek Stewards, a group of wonderful folks committed to improving the creek through curb-cut rain gardens, community education, and more. Donating money didn’t make a ton of sense to my son (“How can money help the animals?”) but I tried my best to explain. In the end, we decided on a bake sale so he could take an active role in helping.

I figured we could bake a couple dozen cookies (chocolate chip are our specialty) and sell them for a dollar each. We could hopefully raise $25, and match that donation as a family. But my son had his heart set on something bigger—he wanted to bake ONE HUNDRED cookies and raise ONE HUNDRED dollars. With an infant and toddler in tow, I didn’t have the energy for a big sale. 

I knew the sale wasn’t going to happen if it became too much work, so we stuck with a single batch, much to my son’s disappointment. After the cookies were finished, I nervously posted in our neighborhood Facebook group about the sale. Within minutes, kind neighbors were ordering cookies. We only had a few cookies to sell but people generously ordered one or two, and we kept busy delivering them. I didn’t count the money as it came in via Venmo (and a little cash) until we had sold every last cookie. 

Once done, I was shocked to find that every single person had overpaid us. With overwhelming gratitude, we found that we were able to raise $105 dollars for the care of Plaster Creek. God had heard the prayers of a 5-year-old, and had multiplied the little we brought, in the way only He can.


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