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Samoset duo cooking up help disaster victims

Ryan Reed — November 2, 2017


The article below was reposted from The Sentinel & Enterprise.  One of the students featured, Ethan Vettese, is a Takodah camper.

By Peter Jasinski,

LEOMINSTER — As he watched news coverage of Hurricane Harvey a few weeks ago, 13-year-old Timmy Peznola had an idea.

“I saw everything that was happening down in Texas and I just really wanted to help out,” the Samoset School eighth grader said.

So he picked up his phone and got ahold of his buddy, Ethan Vettese.

“He texted me one day and he was like ‘You want to do this bake sale to help the people in Texas?’ and I was like ‘Yeah, that sounds awesome,'” Vettese said. “Then we planned how we were going to do it, when we were going to do it, and we started baking.”

It’s worth noting that Peznola and Vettese are no ordinary teenagers, that their idea of a fun time after school is experimenting with a new recipe, and that the name “Pezznola & Vettese” might very well end up on the marquee of a successful bakery some day.

The two young masters went to work, whipping up cookies, cupcakes, brownies, banana breads, pumpkin breads, and puff pastries, all from scratch, that they’ve been selling at school over the last couple weeks. So far they’ve amassed $539, which they will be donating to the American Red Cross’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

As school nurse Susan Avallone explained, the boys’ efforts went beyond just the hours spent in the kitchen. They had to research their school’s wellness policy and make sure they were up to code with all the necessary packaging and hygiene standards.

“They had to make sure that everything was cleared through the wellness policy because that’s such a big thing in the schools and they did their homework on it,” Avallone said.

“I’m very proud of them, especially the fact they wanted to do this and help others.”

The duo’s third and most recent bake sale was held during Samoset’s open house last week, expanding their customer base to the parents of classmates. Peznola’s confections have already gained some attention through his Instagram account, which he uses to sell some of his baked goods to Leominster residents, including Vettese’s mom, Elizabeth Kim.

“I purchased several goodies for my students and coworkers. They loved the banana bread to the point they asked for the recipe and the blonde brownies were also a huge hit,” she said.

As hurricanes have continued to cut a swath across the Carribbean and repeated earthquakes have struck Mexico, Peznola and Vettese are giving some thought to possibly turning the oven back on and having more sales to help disaster victims.

“This is the first year that I’ve actually even heard of hurricane season, so I’ve been really surprised there have been so many,” Vettese said.

“It’s crazy everything that’s happening. It’s really sad that all these people have lost their homes,” Peznola said.

The two are also considering starting a United Way Youth Venture that would expand their efforts to include more of their culinarily inclined classmates and hope to possibly start having sales on a regular basis.

Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53.

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