L-R, Sarah Harris, Matthew Allred, Henry Harris and Jacob Harris sell their homemade jar and spice products. Part of the proceeds from their sales also goes to charity.

Valrico mom Jessica Harris, who home schools her three children, wanted to teach them at a young age about managing money. She also wanted them to learn how helping others would bring blessings into their own lives.

They started a home based business selling homemade jars of pickles and mustard. To get the word out on their new endeavor, they started with flyers around their neighborhood, sending e-mails to friends and family and also by word of mouth.

Jacob, Henry and Sarah Harris and their friend Matthew Allred all range in age from 9-11. Mom, Jessica, helps them. 
Some of the proceeds go to T.H.O.R.N. Ministries, which is located in Riverview. T.H.O.R.N. is a spiritually inspired humanitarian outreach that serves the homeless of Tampa Bay.  The students have raised about $200 so far for the Ministries. In the past, they have also donated to ECHO and other charities.

Along with learning what it takes to run a business, Jessica said, “In 2010, First United Methodist Church held a bazaar to raise money for a latrine project for our sister church in Ethiopia. We were able to raise $250 towards that project by selling our products. Because Responsible Kidz could not attend one of the two church bazaar dates, they hired friends to set up and sell their products that day. The experience helped them realize that while sharing profits is costly, not selling at all is even more costly.”

Sarah, the only girl in the group, said she likes when people buy their product. When asked what she got to do with some of her earnings, she said, “I got to go to Georgia to the American Girl Doll store.”

Henry said his reasons for doing this are to help others. “We can help the charity through others purchasing the products.”

 The students have been in business for about four years. In their first year, they sold 50 jars of pickles and mustard. This year, they’ve sold over 300 jars. They have just started offering 4 oz. containers of homemade spices. Spices offered are Italian Dressing Mix, Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix, Holy Smokes BBQ Rub, Cajun Seasoning, Taco Seasoning and Greek Dressing Marinade.

All natural ingredients are used. On the spice containers, a recipe for making a marinade or dressing is also included.
They are getting a lot of repeat customers and are looking to expand. The cost of the pickles and mustard jars are $6 each. The spices cost $3 for one or two for $5.

The students recognize that there are other kids that are involved in their own business, whether for profit or not-for-profit, and they are looking to start a networking group with these other kids. Their next venture is to start a local “kids-in-business” network, much like adult business networking.

For more information on the networking group or to purchase the products, call 220-6017 or e-mail responsiblekidz@gmail.com.

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.