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A Sweet Way to Fight Childhood Hunger


Deb Hanson, Sweetness Factory owner, donates all proceeds from her sales to help feed children. Photos by Dana Attocknie


By Dana Attocknie T


he main ingredient swirled into each gourmet cupcake at the Sweetness Fac- tory, in Weatherford, Okla., is faith. Inspirational messages inscribed on the pink walls of the store reflect the conviction, kindness and gratitude embraced by shop own- er Deb Hanson, a Kiwash Electric Cooperative member. One declaration reads, “Let us all be mirrors for God by reflecting his glory through our actions and words.” Those words describe the love Hanson and her


staff drizzle throughout the Weatherford area, by taking the profit from each piece of indulgence sold at the Sweetness Factory and donating it to help feed children. “Our money goes to the Regional Food Bank and is earmarked for Food for Kids,” Hanson said. “God laid it on my heart that I was supposed to do something and I believe in divine intervention.” Food for Kids is a Regional Food Bank of


Oklahoma initiative with four programs: the backpack program, kids cafe, school pantry and summer feeding. Hanson’s contribution goes to- ward the backpack program, which sends “chron- ically hungry” kids home from school with


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Employees help create sweet concoctions for customers of all ages.


nutritious, non-perishable food for the weekends and holidays. Two factors led Hanson to open a business,


which feeds two very different types of hunger— candid words from her doctor and a story about a girl and a banana.


First, the eye-opening words. Hanson had al- ready overcome a battle with cancer before mov- ing from Topeka, Kan., to Oklahoma eight years ago with her husband Tim and son Parker. Then, two years into their life in Oklahoma, she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus. Her doctor said the lupus was progressive, her organs were shutting down and, “If you want to do anything, do it now.”


Second, is the story about a young girl Hanson read about who was so hungry, she asked her teacher if she could have a half-eaten banana dis- carded in a trash can. The story brought heart- ache and awareness to Hanson about childhood hunger, and it’s those two bitter moments that gave rise to the Sweetness Factory. Hanson also found comfort in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” The verse is inscribed on a wall inside the shop. The store is a not-for-profit business. Money is pulled out for taxes, overhead costs and supplies, and the rest is donated. “We have a tremendous amount of support for


the Food for Kids program locally,” Hanson said. “Thomas, Clinton and Woodward don’t have complete funding and we’re able to provide for them, but they’re our sister communities and that’s what you’re supposed to do—put a big hug


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