Miranda Halverson awoke Tuesday with the anxiety of a 7-year-old who was late for school. Only, her mother told her, there was no school. St. Croix Central Elementary in Roberts, Wis., was closed because of damage from an arson fire.
Disappointed, Miranda thought about what she could do to help. Donate her old books to the school library? No. Have a sale to raise money?
"How about cookies?"
Miranda's simple idea earlier this week has grown into a bake sale that is winning widespread attention and will likely draw a big crowd when it takes place outside the Wal-Mart in Hudson from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 11.
"She wants to raise $1,000 because, according to her, that's what the school is going to need to fix everything," said her mother, Amanda Halverson.
A slight underestimate: The early morning fire April 30 caused an estimated $1.5 million in damages to the school, which is closed for the rest of the school year. Classes will resume next week at a nearby Girl Scout camp. A 24-year-old man, Justin W. Nelson of Roberts, was charged Friday with starting the blaze.
Amanda Halverson said interest in the sale has been overwhelming and that a bagel shop and a bakery in western Wisconsin have pledged to donate baked goods to help.
"I'm terrified we're not going to have enough baked goods," Amanda said. The event will continue May 12 if there is anything left to sell.
Friday will be baking day in the Halverson house, with Amanda making brownies and Miranda and her grandmother making Rice Krispie treats.
"I hate making Rice Krispie treats," Amanda said, "but Grandma does them pretty well."
Miranda, a first-grader, will be in charge of marketing Saturday and roping in customers.
"She'll be up front saying, 'Do you want to get this? You should really get this,' " Amanda said. "She's my naturally born saleswoman."