This 12-Year-Old Girl Started a Fundraiser That’s Raised Thousands For the North Texas Food Bank

No lemonade stand for this pint-sized philanthropist

The MistleCrew

“What can a kid do to help?” 

In 2012, Stella Wrubel, 6 at the time, saw utter devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and wanted to lend a hand. She asked her parents “What can a kid do to help?” While brainstorming, Stella decided a lemonade stand would not be successful during the winter months, but something more festive could work.  A stroke of inspiration led her to create the Jingle Bell Mistletoe campaign.

“Mistletoe is pure profit”               

Her first year, Stella set up shop on her front lawn, selling out of decorated mistletoe within minutes and raising $2,034 for the American Red Cross. She overheard a customer say, “Mistletoe is pure profit,” and quickly realized she was onto something big.

In 2014, Stella decided she wanted the sale of Jingle Bell Mistletoe to support a regional effort. She toured the North Texas Food Bank and fell in love with their mission of feeding hungry neighbors. She was devastated to find out that one out of every four children in North Texas is food insecure. Motivated to do even more to help hungry kids, Stella started planning the campaign even earlier that year. 

That December, Stella gathered her friends Quinn, Isabella, and Trevor to cut and decorate more mistletoe than ever before. They set up stands all over Dallas, including a local shopping center in the middle of a high-end neighborhood, and raised more than $18,000.



Jingle Bell Mistletoe

The success of the campaign allowed the food bank to provide 54,000 meals for people in need.

Stella and her friends realized that people wanted to support the issue of hunger relief, and they decided to find corporate sponsors and supporters to broaden their effort. They reached out to local stores and pitched the campaign to them, requesting donations, match opportunities or other support.

The campaign has continued to grow and in 2016, the North Texas Food Bank awarded Stella and her best friend Quinn Youth Leader of the Year awards for their efforts in hunger relief. All told, the kids have helped put 300,000 meals on the table for hungry North Texans.

“Six years means $60,000”

The 2017 Jingle Bell Mistletoe season launched on December 15, and this year, the campaign also celebrates its sixth anniversary.

In honor of a half decade of sales, Stella and the MistleCrew announced that their fundraising goal for 2017 is $60,000 to benefit the NTFB.

Support is already starting to come in online. Make your donations or help start a similar effort in your community.

Stella and her friends prove that age, really is nothing but a number.  


Here are 60 more ways to fight hunger in America during the holidays and the rest of the year.