SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Evan Greenberg is not what you'd expect as the founder of an annual fundraiser. For one thing, this is the sixth year for the Hot Cocoa Stand event, and Evan is not quite 11-years-old.
This year's event will take place March 10-11 at All Good Things in the Golden Horseshoe on Wilmot Road on the Scarsdale-New Rochelle line. The hours are still being worked out, Evan said Thursday.
The Central School fifth-grader from Larchmont smiles and laughs a lot. He loves baseball. And he loves to do things to help other people.
"I'm not really sure how I came up with it," Evan said Thursday. "I just remember one day I wanted to do it."
"He came home one day and said, 'I signed up my friends to help with the hot cocoa stand,'" said Evan's father, Ken, vice president for product development at Dynamic Logic in Manhattan. "He's in kindergarten, mind you. So I asked when he did this. He says, 'During recess.'"
"I actually remember going around to kids," Evan said.
"I asked, 'Are you going to charge,' Greenberg said, and Evan said , "No, I want to do it for people who are cold.' My wife was smart enough to realize at the time that there was an event going on for hunger and we decided we should do it for charity and he said, 'yeah!' So we put together the box, and he was very excited. He was the boss, so I asked, 'What do I do? And he said, 'You're in marketing,' so I had to help him write the letters, help get the word out. ... He fired me a couple times the first year. He remembers that, too!"
"The first year we made $100," Evan said. "The second year $200, third year $300, fourth year $300. Fifth year, over $2,000."
Greenberg attributes the jump in income to donated baseball memorabilia that was raffled off at the event.
"Teams sent us things," Evan said. "The Red Sox donated dirt (from Fenway Park) and some other things; the Mets sent three hats and three shirts..."
Nancy Joselson, executive director of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation (PCF), which benefits from the fundraiser, had a friend that got a signed Mariano Riviera baseball card, Greenberg said. "That was the big thing last year." He said the fundraiser may have made more money on the raffle than on the cocoa.
This year Evan and his dad approached Mamaroneck chocolatier Maria Valente, who has donated the premium chocolate, and Evan has considered experimenting prior to the event with different types of milk to get the best-tasting hot cocoa.
Because the event has grown, Evan gets more help from his father, Joselson and other volunteers, "but he still helps out," Greenberg said.
Greenberg said people have begun to send donations as well. "Not everybody can come," he said, "but people have started to send donations to us, and to PCF. We're starting to reach out more through social media. I'm doing stuff on Facebook. We have sponsors."
The Mets sent two four-packs of tickets, Evan said. The Jets and Giants sent limited edition posters. Local businesses also donated last year, including several in the Golden Horseshoe.
The Pediatric Cancer Foundation, based in Mamaroneck, uses the money for both research and to aid in the treatment of children with cancer. "All the money that our organization raises goes into a general fund and is used to support doctors at five leading hospitals," Joselson said. The doctors present a wish list to the board of directors, and the money goes for research and equipment, she said. "It's not going toward light bulb. ... You're not paying for the building, or secretaries. I work from home. We have a post office box."