The disease was surrounding Porter’s life and he felt like he needed to do something to make a difference. He remembered the carrot cakes, and sat down with his dad, Jamie Schapiro, one night and started assembling a business plan. Could they sell carrot cake and donate any revenue to cancer research?
His family came up with the first $1,000 to purchase ingredients and containers. His brother, who has a passion for graphic design, made a logo and designed business cards. They called it “Nothing But Carrot Cake.”
For Porter, everything was to help find a cure. He sold to his friends at school and their family, his neighbors, and teachers. They started shipping out frozen cakes out to family friends in faraway states, like Colorado, who also had family friends who were suffering from the disease. Between selling more than 200 cakes and receiving matching donations, Porter has raised more than $10,000. It’s about $9,900 more than he ever expected to raise.
“My goal was to make $100. I never thought I’d ever raise that much,” Porter, who is now 12 and goes to The Pennfield School in Portsmouth, which is known for its music program. He’s taking band, and it’s his first year playing the drums. He performed “Mission Impossible” at his spring concert.
At the same time when Porter was just starting to sell these cakes for a good cause, he was stuck at home in the beginning of the pandemic and learning virtually — just like every other 10-year-old in the country. He was isolated from his friends and bored, when his dad found a post by Granny Squibb’s Organic Iced Tea for kids to draw their own flavor. Schapiro printed it out for his son, and Porter created what he thought would be a make-believe flavor called “Porter’s Peach.”
The owners of Granny Squibb’s heard about the middle schooler behind “Nothing But Carrot Cake,” and said they were inspired to give back alongside him.
On Wednesday, Granny Squibb’s announced the release of its newest flavor, “Porter’s Peach.” And a portion of the new bottled iced tea sales will go toward the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.
“Porter’s Peach is the first new flavor we’ve brought to market since before the pandemic. It was created from a beautiful story, which continues our passion for storytelling and philanthropy,” said Kelley McShane, who is a partner and owner of Granny Squibb’s.
The company will also be expanding its reach by selling in all 20 Roche Bros. stores in Massachusetts, in addition to retail stores across Rhode Island like Dave’s Marketplace, Whole Foods, Bodega on Smith in Providence, among other stores.
Alexa Woodward, the vice president of corporate partnerships at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said Porter’s story touches the organization, and this effort will “impact the lives of so many people right here in New England, and beyond.”
Porter’s family won’t receive a monetary amount from the local team company, but Schapiro said having a tea named after his son, who hasn’t even completed middle school yet, makes him proud.
“He really did all of this on his own. From the baking, creativity, and fundraising, it was all him… Other than maybe the dishes and helping him keep track of money,” joked Schapiro. “As a dad, I couldn’t be prouder.”
There’s an upcoming fundraising event at Barrington Country Club where Granny Squibb’s will be giving Porter 120 bottles of his peach tea to serve to attendees. But he won’t be alone. He’ll be serving them alongside Daisy, the daughter of his father’s friend who passed away two years ago.
When asked what he hopes for the future, Porter, who wants to be a baker when he grows up, folded his hands and said, “I’m just really hoping they find a cure for cancer. People with cancer deserve better.”
Alexa Gagosz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.