Hot cocoa stand raises $1,005, funds more than 100 gifts for local children in need

Jordan Slippi-Mensah, 5, had a wish for every child to have Christmas this year

Jordan Slippi-Mensah, 5, had a wish for every child to have Christmas this year. By selling hot cocoa on his street to friends, family and the community, Jordan raised $1,005 to purchase more than 130 gifts for children in need this holiday season.

Five-year-old Jordan Slippi-Mensah wanted every young boy and girl to have a Christmas this year, so on Saturday, Nov. 25, the Whitman Elementary School kindergartener took to the street with $1 homemade hot cocoa in hopes of raising enough to buy toys for children less fortunate. To his and his family’s surprise, the curbside stand and word-of-mouth resulted in donations of $1,005, which allowed Jordan to buy more than 130 toys and items for children and families in need this holiday season.

According to Jordan’s mom, Trinna Wooster, the hot cocoa stand had approximately 60 visitors, resulting in more than $600 in donations within the three hours of operation from 9 a.m. to noon. After members of the community and friends heard of the service effort, Wooster said they received additional funds through money transfers, as well as making trips to pick up donations.

“I honestly didn’t think it would be what it was, and the fact we were able to raise that much money and be able to donate to kids who aren’t as fortunate was awesome,” Wooster said.

Together with the donations, Jordan and Wooster bargain shopped online and in stores at Target, Walmart, Five Below and Kohls during Black Friday sales to purchase as many gifts as possible, to help as many children as they could.

“The more we could buy, the more kids get presents,” Wooster said. “Everything averaged to be about $10 or less when it came down to it.”

Jordan said he was able to have his own cart at the stores, hand-picking the presents and toys he would later give to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots in Gloucester County, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as a local family in need. Wooster said CHOP had provided a list of items, brands and ages that would be accepted, while Toys for Tots was in need of gifts for children ages 8 to 12.

“We bought Lego sets, games and telescope Nerf guns,” Jordan said. “I feel happy; I want to do this every year, 100 percent.”

To show their thanks, representatives from Toys for Tots made a special visit to Jordan after the hot cocoa sale and presented him with a certificate as well as a train set for his “outstanding support.”

“I’ve always wanted Jordan to be involved, not just during the holidays, but throughout the year,” Wooster said. “I’m a teacher, so I want my kids to understand and see that what they have, not everyone has and have them really, truly understand that.”

Wooster said she hopes Jordan’s hot cocoa stand could become a local tradition every holiday season, and looks forward to seeing how the community service efforts can grow each year.

“He doesn’t even realize what he truly did; he doesn’t understand how much of an impact this has,” Wooster said. “We are very thankful to everybody, whether it was people we knew or who were just passing by, everyone was so generous and I’m hoping we can do it every year. This will be a hard year to top.”