When Kathie Armstrong set out to build her baking products company, Kathie’s Bakery, she knew she wanted it to do more than just feed people delicious baked goods. She wanted it to give back and change lives, and in more than just the typical “percentage of profits go to charity” way.

The first person she thought of was a good friend of hers, Anna Gustafson. Anna and her husband Sven are the founders of Cherry Avenue, an organization dedicated to helping the community of Sumpango, Guatemala. Cherry Avenue, “builds pathways for children to break the cycles of poverty they were born into and to flourish instead. That work consists of providing shelter, nutrition, education and sharing God’s love for them.”

“Anna and I became friends in 2008 when she started coming by my creamery store in Independence, MN,” said Kathie. “God gave us to each other, and I admire her so much.”

Anna was similarly smitten with Kathie saying, “She has blessed my life every day since we met. Her compassion is infectious, and her practical wisdom is humorous and straightforward. We all need friends who challenge us and love us at the same time, and she is that person to me.”

As Kathie’s Bakery business has grown with her products now featured in many local in-store bakeries and a growing line of packaged mixes, she was giving a percentage of her profits to local efforts focused on food access such as Caring and Sharing Hands and the Food Group. But it didn’t feel like enough.

“I wanted to do something that would keep feeding people after I was gone. I decided that I wanted to leave my company in trust to someone that I know will do right with it. I have watched this beautiful young woman and her husband do wonderful things for others for many years. I know her heart, I know her love for God and I know that every penny given to their foundation goes to the welfare of the children and families in need.

With Anna and Cherry Avenue, I know that they will do their very best to keep my company alive and growing so it will help nurture and educate children and help families in need for many generations to come!”

Said Anna, “To be granted such a generous gift by Kathie’s Bakery ensures the pathway to a better future continues generations beyond us. Kathie has stuck a flag in the ground, declaring that her life’s work is purely for the blessing of others. How courageous, how humbling. She is leading the way for others to join her in sharing the good things of God with others.”

Beyond what her gift will do, Kathie is grateful for what the relationship with Anna and Cherry Avenue is doing for her personally as well.

“My heart is so full of gratitude in that I am able to do something now that helps the children and that will continue to help them after I am gone,” said Kathie. “This has really given me purpose in my own life in that I believe true happiness comes in helping others. In service to the less fortunate we are blessed!”

For more information on Cherry Avenue, go to: https://www.cherryave.org/

article written by: Hugh Williams

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