FITCHBURG — Michelle DiCastro never imagined the Ukraine earrings fundraiser she launched a few months ago would be so successful, netting well over $5,000 for UNICEF USA so far.
“I honestly am still shocked that it ended up going as well as it did,” the lifelong city resident said. “It was an overwhelming response, and the local community was a huge part of that.”
DiCastro has met her initial goal, selling close to 400 pairs of the blue and yellow heart shaped wood stud earrings in honor of Ukraine, which she lovingly handcrafts. At $12 apiece and with outright donations she has raised $5,134 for UNICEF, an international humanitarian organization she selected because “their focus is on helping and protecting children.”
The mother of three young children said she was inspired to do the fundraiser to help the families in the war-torn country. Since posting about her efforts in her The Bean Sproutz Facebook business page mid-March, the Fitchburg High School graduate has sold earrings to customers from all over, including locally, regionally and five pairs going all the way to Florida.
DiCastro and her husband, also a lifelong city resident and FHS graduate, started The Bean Sproutz last year. They specialize in custom signs, nursery decor and more made in their basement studio.
DiCastro makes the Ukraine earrings in large batches, usually 40 pairs at a time, from hand-painted Baltic birch sealed with UV resin. She said she plans to continue offering the earrings on her website, thebeansproutz.com, and at local markets and craft fairs and will continue to donate a portion of the proceeds to UNICEF.
“It still doesn’t feel like nearly enough but I’m glad we could help.”