DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A Troy teen has been running a hot chocolate stand for years and donating the money he brings in.
Will Barnes has been selling hot chocolate since he was in first grade.
“It’s always tasted good. I’ve always loved putting marshmallows and peppermints in it,” says Barnes.
Now, 15 years old and a freshman in high school, he’s served up hundreds of cups over the years, raising money for charity.
Word has gotten around about the hot chocolate stand on Lincolnshire Drive in Troy.
“Radio station–I get on the radio, and I spoke at the tree lighting, and all sorts of things to get the message out about it,” says Barnes.
It started as a first-grade project to raise money for World Vision, a humanitarian organization helping communities in need.
“I had cardboard boxes from redoing our kitchen, and then we put wrapping paper all over it, peppermints, all sorts of things to just decorate it and make it look like a cardboard house,” describes Barnes.
From those initial cardboard boxes, his stand has gotten some upgrades, acquiring a trailer in 2019 thanks to the Kiwanis Club.
While it’s grown, over the years, his recipe has stayed the same.
For some customers, coming to the stand is just as much of a tradition for them as it is for Barnes.
“We came when Will had the little cardboard box that would get blown away by the wind. So, we’ve been coming for many years,” say neighbors Candy and Dave Lindeman. “Every year it’s for a great cause and it’s good hot chocolate.”
Still raising money for World Vision, his hot chocolate adds some warmth in more ways than one.
“I’ve just enjoyed helping people, and it’s always been fun to do,” smiles Barnes.
Barnes doesn’t have a set schedule or hours for the stand but does it when he can. He says the next step for him is starting an Instagram to help advertise when he’s running the stand.