Bake Sales at the Racetrack
For the past few summers, the Emily Whitehead Foundation has had the privilege of being the beneficiary to a series of very successful bake sales at UMI Motorsports Park. Each of these have been led by Emily Whitehead Foundation board member, and mom to a cancer survivor, Jodie Potter.
In her own words, Jodie summarizes this past summer's racetrack fundraising efforts—and shares her many thanks to the racing community that has generously embraced our mission to Activate the Cure.
Nestled in the hills of central Pennsylvania sits a racetrack that serves as a playground for autocross racers from far and wide. Ryan Kirkwood and his team have built up UMI Motorsports Park (UMIMP) in Clearfield, PA to become arguably the best autocross facility in the nation. UMIMP held four events throughout this summer, and we had the privilege of hosting bake sales at each of these events.
The EWF bake sale table has become a fixture at the track over the last four years, and the support from this community is unmatched and impressive. We start out with a coffee pot, coolers of drinks, and trays of brownies, cookies, cakes, and other goodies, and as soon as the drivers’ meeting ends, the racers come by to get snacks for the day. We’ve established the ‘dollar bake sale model’ where everything is packaged and priced in $1 portions, but these guys often don’t follow the rules. It’s not uncommon for a hungry racer to grab a bottle of water and a rice krispy treat and leave a hundred-dollar bill on the table.
Officially, they gather to see whose car makes it around the track the fastest, but it’s probably safe to say that even if there weren’t cars there, many would still converge for the camaraderie and quite honestly, Nanny Whitehead’s famous brownies. Those brownies have become legendary among the group, and UMI has even built them into their hospitality gathering Thursday evening before the race. We bake hundreds of them!
Many of the attendees have not been touched by childhood cancer directly, but they have embraced our mission to Activate the Cure and support it at every turn. Some folks show up with baked goods to contribute to the table. Some bring cases and cases of drinks (and then buy them back when they get thirsty). Some bring items to auction off and donate the proceeds. Most bring their appetite and more than a little spendin’ cash.
Track sponsors Chris and Christina King of ViKing Performance have become regular donors to EWF. Ken Edwards and Bob Bertelsen host a campground party Friday night. The atmosphere is unmatched, and they set out a bucket for donations for the evening meal. After a long day of racing, they stand at the grills for hours, cooking up a feast for their friends. They place a bucket at the end of the buffet line, and it gets filled up. Radical generosity is the best way I can describe it.
At the most recent event, the King of the Mountain, Tom Whitehead shared a few words at the drivers meeting Friday morning. He thanked UMI for continuing to host our bake sales at their events and shared how their contributions are helping families all around the world. We sold baked goods, coffee, and cold drinks all day Friday and Saturday. We provided brownies and cookies for registration, lunches, and the VIP area Saturday night. Ken and Bob grilled up a delicious meal Friday evening, and all donations came to EWF. An impromptu auction Friday night generated thousands of dollars.
With a lot of help from my awesome team, we had bake sales at all four UMIMP events this summer. UMI’s King of the Mountain last month was the largest of the four, bringing in over $9,000 in donations. All four sales this summer combined topped $20,000, and over the last few years, this community has given over $50,000 to activate the cure for childhood cancer.
I would like to echo Tom’s thanks to UMI here. They’ve welcomed us, and they’ve supported our mission in a mighty way. I always look forward to going home to UMIMP and sharing treats with friends.
There were many racers competing at the track this summer, but I know who the big winner was.