Stella Wrubel is proof that even the youngest of people can have the biggest of hearts. After feeling compelled to help the children affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Wrubel, now 13, set up shop in her front yard selling mistletoe to passers-by and donated all of the profits to the American Red Cross. Now, six years later, Jingle Bell Mistletoe has moved from Wrubel’s front yard to multiple locations around Dallas. With the help of good friend Quinn Graves, 13, Wrubel continues the tradition of goodwill, selling mistletoe décor to raise money for the North Texas Food Bank.
What are your goals for this year?
Stella Wrubel: Our goals for this year are to break the Guinness World Record for most people simultaneously kissing under mistletoe, and to raise $70,000 for the North Texas Food Bank, feeding 210,000 people. But our dream is for kids all around the world to raise money for their local food banks so we can defeat the horrible infestation of hunger on our planet.
Quinn Graves: Our hope is that kids who like sports and art just like us, and who go to school just like us, can get enough nutrition to help them escape the problems that result from hunger.
Has anything changed since first starting Jingle Bell Mistletoe?
SW: Our mission has completely changed! We started out raising money to help rehabilitate people in need after Hurricane Katrina. Now, we sell mistletoe to raise money to benefit the North Texas Food Bank, where $1 feeds three people.
QG: We are also raising money through corporate donations and company matches. We’ve practiced our business pitch and would be really excited to share that with any readers who own companies.
How will you prepare for the holiday season?
QG: We prepare starting in August with weekly conference calls with each other. We set the dates, work on artwork, update the website, reach out to companies and brainstorm new ideas. We also spend some time refreshing our memories on our favorite Christmas carols so we can belt out tunes while working.
What is the best part about being on the Mistlecrew?
SW: Being on the Mistlecrew means being part of a family. We are connected through this thing that we do every December, and it has turned the winter holidays into so much more than just a time to think about what I would want. It is now a time where I would think of what others need. I also like having fun with my best friends in the process!
Where is your mistletoe workshop, and how many pieces of mistletoe will you make?
SW: We set up shop in my grandmother’s garage. It is actually very nice in there—we have a couch and a table, some snacks and things for the volunteers. We aim to make as many pieces as possible!
Kids are capable of incredible things. What else would you like adults to know about kids?
SW: Don’t underestimate the power of kids! We can do more than most adults think we can. Actually, sometimes [more] than other kids think we can. We just need the motivation, and we are off to the races.
QG: We have big ideas, and we can even surprise ourselves sometimes.
Something tells me you are on Santa’s nice list. Anything specific you would like for Christmas?
SW: An end to hunger. I actually mean that though. There is nothing I would want more than that, but no one can give me that. They can just do their part to help me and my friends end hunger. And we try to keep specific religions out of mistletoe so it is more universal.
QG: We would just like everyone to put a little more toward their favorite charity—we hope that’s Jingle Bell Mistletoe!—and spread holiday cheer throughout our community.