Waffles from the heart

Good Samaritan: Caitlin with the waffles she made to raise funds for animal shelters. — CHAN BOON KAI/ The Star

GEORGE TOWN: In one Penang household, the aroma of freshly made waffles is a boon for homeless animals in shelters and on the streets.

Every piece made by 11-year-old Caitlin Tang is sold to raise funds to help local shelters and organisations buy food to feed the furry creatures under their care.

As of Monday, the student of St Christopher’s International Primary School has sold 535 waffles and raised RM4,668.

The lass started her enterprise in mid-April after reading news highlighting the plight of animal shelters which were struggling with funds and supplies due to the nationwide movement control order (MCO).

“Being an animal lover, I was sad and wanted to help in a meaningful way,” said Caitlin who has a “furry sibling” named Theo, a five-year-old Miniature Schnauzer.

She found waffle recipes on the Internet, and first shared her homemade treats with a neighbour at her apartment block in Tanjung Bungah, who commented on how delicious they were and urged her to sell them.

Having taken an entrepreneurship class in school, she was able to handle the marketing and costing. Added help and encouragement from dad Charles and mum Goh Sui Sim, both 43 and technopreneurs, saw the idea taking off.

Charles’ company offers e-commerce solutions for the food and beverage market, and there was no better person to help Caitlin set up a website.

“I really liked baking to begin with but don’t get to do it often during school days. The MCO has given me lots of time in the kitchen.

“I intend to keep doing this until the end of the MCO and perhaps even for future school holidays,” the youngster enthused.

The labour of love certainly keeps Caitlin busy as she could get orders for up to several dozen pieces a day. But what surprised her most was the generosity of customers.

One kind-hearted buyer gave her RM1,000 instead of RM28 for eight waffles. Another paid RM300 for four pieces. One from Singapore chipped in with S$200 (about RM600) after learning of her effort that has since gone viral on the Internet.

“Many would remember this MCO as a time of doom and gloom. But for me, I’ve come to know some of the nicest and most generous people and feel humbled by all the compliments.

“Without their support, this donation drive would not have succeeded,” said the grateful girl.

Caitlin has thus far donated RM2,690 of her collection – with RM1,000 going to 4Paws, and RM500 each to the International Aid for the Protection and Welfare of Animals Penang and Save Our Strays.

The remaining RM690 was used to buy kibbles for a shelter in Teluk Bahang.

Besides being able to spend quality time with their young daughter, both Charles and Goh are hugely proud of her compassion and enterprising spirit.

The father said: “It all started with an idea of doing something to fill her time at home during the MCO. It’s amazing how far the story has grown.

“You would never imagine how generous people could be during these tough times. It’s heart-warming to know that my daughter is a part of this good cause.”

To order, visit Caitlin’s Waffles at https://caitlin.gotfood.co/. Delivery is only available for the Tanjung Bungah and Tanjung Tokong areas. Those from elsewhere can opt for self pick-up.

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