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KLEW Community Hero: Aiyanna's Market

AIYANNAS MARKET COMM HERO.JPG

In the Piper's Lewiston kitchen on a sunny afternoon, ten-year-old Aiyanna Piper and her little sister, overseen by their mother, are busy baking. Eggs crack into a bright bowl. Oil slides into a measuring cup until it slowly reaches the desired mark. A big stand mixer whirs.

"My turn," Aiyanna says as her sister slides over a bowl of mashed bananas. It's all hands on, especially little ones, as they prepare goodies for a bake sale with big heart.

"My cookies are really good," Aiyanna says with a huge smile full of braces. Aiyanna isn't just good at sharing with her sister; she's about to share a heaping helping of care with these treats.

"It would help the Jackson Baldwin [Foundation]. I saw Joey doing it and I decided we should do something about it," Aiyanna says. "Joey" is Joey Thomasson, who creates comfort blankets for cancer patients, something he was featured as a KLEW Community Hero for. Aiyanna has helped him make those blankets - but the idea of baking for a cause was all hers. It's a testament to the amazing way good begets good, as one young KLEW Community Hero inspires an even younger hero's pay-it-forward attitude.

In the baking heat of a Wednesday afternoon, Aiyanna's market opens for business.

"Your mommy has your banana bread," Aiyanna says to an excited young customer. "Oh, banana bread!" he squeals.

Pickles and peppers, corn and cookies - Aiyanna's family has grown and baked all of it. A colorful child-drawn sign out front says it all: "1/2 the proceeds to the Jackson Baldwin Foundation." "When we were going I probably had more than $100 dollars," Aiyanna says, clearly a little tired from her busy entrepreneurial adventure.

It turned out to be $750 raised, with Aiyanna donating not half, but 80%. In all, this roadside stand paid it forward to the tune of $600.

Aiyanna recounts one memorable customer who was touched by her gesture. "A man just came over and he had a kid that was struggling, his granddaughter was struggling. He said that I helped him by doing it." Aiyanna's mom, Courtney, writes that wasn't the only life Aiyanna's farmers market touched that day. One of their first customers left a note letting Aiyanna know how impressive her generosity was.

Even the inspiration behind it all, Joey Thomasson, stopped by. When asked why she looks up to her friend, Aiyanna said, "Because he helps people out and saves their lives." A little smile creeps across her face when she's told now she does, too.

Aiyanna says she's excited to keep giving back and is already planning another farmers market in the fall.

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