Sisters Donna Yates, Mary Johnson, Karen Perrine and Anita Kimball became involved in a whirlwind charity endeavor in 2016.
“My sister Mary and I were attending a charitable event back in 2016,” Yates said. “The event was to raise money for the wrestling team at Huntington High School. My great-nephew, Brocton Blair, was a member of the team then, so we decided to attend. One of the speakers was Amy Johnson, who spoke about Huntington’s Honor Flight Network and the good they do flying veterans to Washington, D.C. I was so moved by the work Johnson and her husband are doing for veterans that I donated my $100 door prize to Honor Flight that very night.”
To date, these four sisters have now donated more than $6,000 to Honor Flight. Yates and Perrine are retired, and Johnson and Kimball still work full-time. Johnson is a regional manager for a vending machine company where traveling is a large part of her position, and Kimball works at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Yet they still come together on weekends and after hours to haul appliances to salvage yards, do odd jobs around the neighborhoods, collect and sell aluminum cans and bake into the early hours of the morning.
“In the beginning, we were just asking people for a dollar,” Yates said. “We soon found out this method of asking for something without giving anything back wasn’t working too well. That’s when we began selling candy; this became much more comfortable and easier, it also generated more revenue than asking for donations.”
Their items include delicious melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter fudge, peanut butter balls, chocolate-covered coconut bon-bons, hard candy, assorted candy and pumpkin rolls. Everything is homemade using ingredients that these ladies purchase out of their own pockets.
“Aside from selling sweets we are involved with selling other items and doing odd jobs in the local Huntington area,” Yates said. “We mow yards, trim hedges and sidewalks, wash windows, recycle aluminum cans, haul appliances to the salvage yard — and it all goes directly to charity.”
Yates said they prefer checks made out to the Salvation Army, Honor Flight or Little Victories. Doing so leaves no doubt in the customer’s mind as to where the money is going.
“We don’t have a name for our group,” Yates said. “We are not a business and don’t plan to become a business. We are simply people helping people.”
Aside from their homemade candy and pumpkin rolls, they also sell seasonal crafts like Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving and Christmas items, many of which are donated. Friends have even donated 10 pound bags of sugar, chocolate and other baking supplies.
“We have two other organizations that we believe in besides Honor Flight,” Yates said. “We recently helped out the Salvation Army in Huntington with a $300 donation to help replenish their food supplies in the kitchen. There are so many scams after your money that you need to be careful where the money goes. That’s why we get involved with Honor Flight and the Salvation Army. We also support Little Victories Animal Shelter because of the care they give their animals and their no-kill policy. I am a past volunteer there and have seen firsthand the good work they do with the animals. We are presently working to make a donation to Little Victories.”
The sisters are looking for craft shows to sell their wares. They will also take phone orders, and in some cases they deliver. If you’re in need for the services of some hard-working ladies, Yates can be reached at 304-529-1496.