KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A Kalamazoo County teen is making a difference in her community by helping those in need for more than six years.
Layla Wallace was in fourth grade when she started realizing the importance of helping others, and after an economics project in school that had her create a product and sell it, she realized she could continue to help her community.
That's how Layla's Cool Pops got started, donating some of her proceeds to organizations who help those experiencing homelessness.
"Right now I see a lot of people on the streets, and I want to help them as much as I can," said Layla Wallace, the owner of Layla's Cool Pops.
Wallace grew the business she started out with back in fourth grade, selling cake pops and cupcakes, to finally open up a storefront in March as the pandemic hit.
Despite hard times, the focus has always been to help those in need.
"I make goods, and the profit 10% like every month or each week will go to some type of organization," said Layla Wallace.
The organizations are helping those experiencing homelessness, housing insecurity or even families in need within Kalamazoo County.
"We support our local gospel mission, which is our homeless shelter, Loaves and Fishes, and a whole bunch of other places," said Layla Wallace.
"Last year alone, we were able to write $3,000 worth of checks. We were so grateful to be able to have that opportunity to share with our community in such a meaningful way," said Luchara Wallace, Layla's mom and Layla's Cool Pops Chief financial officer.
Luchara Wallace holds the position as chief financial officer and said the money rotates between five area organizations that align with the mission of helping those in need.
In addition to monetary donations, Layla also holds different drives each month for physical items to donate.
"Her heart is really to provide support to our homeless members of our community so that they can get their needs met," said Luchara Wallace.
"One thing that I am trying to do with my friends is give gloves, hats, some types of accessories or boots. I just know that they aren’t as gifted as I am, so I want to do what I can to get what they need and give it to them," said Layla Wallace.
This year, Layla's Cool Pops is looking at purchasing their own property to continue running the storefront while expanding the commercial kitchen and transforming the upstairs part of the building into transitional housing for a local family in need.
If you want to place an order, you can do that on their website by clicking here.