Teen sisters use their passion for baking to support Afghan refugee youth in their community

·3-min read

Sisters Lily and Evie Babcock love to cook and have found a way to combine their passion for baking with making a difference and helping others.

Lily, 17, and Evie, 15, who live in Atlanta, honed their cooking skills on Food Network’s Chopped Junior (Lily), and Fox’s Masterchef Junior (Evie), and decided to put their expertise to good use. “Both of us obviously love cooking and we’re both very passionate about the political state of Georgia and how we really wanted to make some change,” Evie tells Yahoo Life.

The teens were too young to vote in the last election cycle, which left Lily feeling “a lot of sadness and hopelessness.” But rather than letting that get her down, Lily and her sister decided they could use their baking skills to make and sell cupcakes, raising money for Sen. Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock's campaigns through Bake Back Better to “turn Georgia blue.” The teens helped raise $30,000 for the senatorial campaigns — and both Ossoff and Warnock swept the U.S. Senate races in Georgia.

“Once you get a taste for making a difference in the world, you can’t stop,” Lily tells Yahoo Life.

Lily, 17, and Evie, 15, have found a way to combine their passion for baking with making a difference and helping others. (Photo courtesy of Lily and Evie Babcock)
Lily, 17, and Evie, 15, have found a way to combine their passion for baking with making a difference and helping others. (Photo courtesy of Lily and Evie Babcock)

After the success of the Bake Back Better campaign, the sisters started to think about other people they could help. They reached out to New American Pathways, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization that helps refugees. The organization is located in the Clarkston area, which is known as “the most diverse square mile in America” or “the Ellis Island of the South” for welcoming and resettling a diverse and robust refugee population.

“Anything that a new family might need, they’ll provide,” says Lily of the organization. “I feel as though refugee resettlement and volunteer organizations are kind of the unsung heroes of large refugee populations.”

At the suggestion of New American Pathways, the teens started a bake sale to raise funds for backpacks and school supplies for Afghan refugee youth heading to school — in some cases, for the very first time. “With what is going on in Afghanistan, they are expecting a lot of new refugees to come in,” says Evie.

Raising money for school supplies was meaningful to the two teens. “Having school supplies that you’re excited to use was a really big push towards my love of learning,” Lily shares.

Lily, left, and friends at New American Pathways with some of the backpacks for Afghanistan refugee children going back to school. (Photo: New American Pathways)
Lily, left, and friends at New American Pathways with some of the backpacks for Afghanistan refugee children heading to school. (Photo: New American Pathways)

New American Pathways told the teens that they would appreciate it if they could fill 100 backpacks with school supplies for the refugee children. “We ended up getting 240 filled backpacks,” says Lily. “Knowing that each backpack would be held by a kid that might have not had a backpack at all felt really good, and I was excited to know that hopefully we’d be able to fuel their love of learning.”

Adds Evie: “If you can provide that joy in any way to someone who has just arrived to America and who doesn’t have the resources to have that same experience, that’s really special. If we can make it a little bit better for them or a little easier that would just be worth everything.”

The sisters hope to inspire others to make a difference — however small — and to find ways to help people in their own communities. “No matter how small you might feel like your voice is,” says Lily, “just know that you can make a difference in your community. You just have to go for it.”

Video produced by Jacquie Cosgrove.

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