WALLINGFORD — The smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies filled Chelsea Fitzgerald’s home Wednesday as she prepared for her annual bake sale and book drive on Saturday.
For the seventh year the fundraiser will benefit Read to Grow, an organization focused on children’s literacy. The community can purchase Disney-themed baked goods and donate books from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 87 Sharon Drive.
Fitzgerald, 14, said the event grows bigger every year, as does the demand for treats.
This year Fitzgerald plans to offer cookies, cupcakes, chocolate drizzled pretzel sticks, rice crispy treats, brownies, dog treats and pies, a new addition. This is also the first year the event has a theme.
“I’m the biggest Disney fan you’ll ever meet so we have a bunch of raffle prizes that are Disney-themed, a bunch of decorations that we’re going to decorate the tent with,” she said.
The first book drive collected 568 books. Since then, Fitzgerald has collected about 15,000 books.
Vinny’s Deli heard will donate 25 cents for every comment and share of a Facebook video post featuring Fitzgerald, up to $400. Deli owner Vinny Iannuzzi said he think’s the fundraiser is amazing and wanted to help spread the message.
“We’re going to try and get it to as many people as we can,” he said.
Iannuzzi said he will also name a sandwich after Fitzgerald to honor her work.
“For a kid to be doing it seven years in a row. It’s fantastic,” Iannuzzi said. “I can’t imagine how many people’s lives that girl will touch.”
Her mother Gina Fitzgerald donates her own time and money to prepare for the bake sale.
“It’s amazing. It started off as something small,” she said. “We started seven years again, we got a few hundred books and I thought that was great.”