jingle bell mistletoe

Teens Selling Mistletoe Put Food on the Tables of Those in Need

NBCUniversal, Inc.

For most, mistletoe represents a sweet moment with a loved one during the holidays. For a group of young friends, it’s come to represent food on the tables of those who need it most. The idea came to Stella Wrubel nine years ago after Hurricane Sandy. It was too cold for a lemonade stand, so 'Jingle Bell Mistletoe' was created.

“We just cut it out of the trees, and we make it pretty and then we’re able to use it to make a difference and help people,” Wrubel said.

Since then, the organization has blossomed, with close friends who’ve been by her side since the beginning. For a few bucks, people walk away with fresh mistletoe and the satisfaction of knowing 100% of the proceeds will go to the North Texas Food Bank – which has seen its fair share of hardship this year.

“It’s really hard to watch what’s been happening and the lines of people who already couldn’t get food for themselves. Those lines are getting longer,” said Wrubel. We get to hand people the mistletoe they just bought, and we get to say ‘you just provided 30 meals.’ Every dollar that you give to them provides three meals which is mind-blowing.”

Quinn Graves, one of the “original four”, said he’s experienced the satisfaction of full-circle moments.

“We’ve actually had the privilege of meeting some of the people we’ve helped. So, I always keep that in the back of my mind,” he said. “It was kids our age and younger. We saw 5-year-olds who were so thankful for this food.”

Graves said he hopes young people are inspired to get involved or find other ways to lend a hand in their communities.

“I hope people know that children can make a difference, because that’s really helped through my years is knowing that I can do something to help people,” he said. “So, I want that to be kind of a beacon of hope for children who think they aren’t going to be able to make a difference.”

And this year 'Jingle Bell Mistletoe' reached a milestone worth celebrating.

“We did the math, and over the past couple of years we’ve donated over a million meals to the food bank,” said Wrubel. “We just want to do everything we can to help them because they’re making such a difference in our community.”

Together, these friends have done just that, knowing each mistletoe represents food on someone’s table.

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