Soup fundraiser gets kittens spayed

MONTMARTRE, Sask.—Borscht for birth control is the latest business brainchild from the entrepreneurial Chittenden children.

These three rural siblings, aged eight to 14, have been coming up with innovative money-making ideas for many years now, financing everything from snowmobile purchases to veterinarian bills.

The latest endeavour—initiated by Maria, Grade 6, and her sister Heidi, Grade 3—has turned the family’s plentiful beet crop into borscht and the resultant profit into financing for the spaying and neutering of three spring kittens.

“ ‘No’ was my immediate answer when the girls asked to keep a batch of kittens this summer,” said mother Renate Chittenden.

Her stance softened as the girls promised to be responsible pet owners by financing the cost of fixing the felines.

Maria and her sister, Heidi, are using the profits to finance the spaying and neutering of three spring kittens. | Christalee Froese photo

Two weeks ago, the girls posted their plan to sell homemade borscht online, initiating a flood of orders for the one-litre tubs of hearty soup priced at $7 each.

By week’s end, Borscht for Birth Control had raised more than $260 and the Chittenden girls had their kittens enrolled in the Sask Alley Cats Association program that will see all three cats spayed and neutered for just $250.

“I washed the beets and Heidi peeled the carrots,” said Maria, enthusiastic about the brisk sales of their borscht and the fact that they can now keep their kittens.

The girls were following in the footsteps of their older brother, Sam, 14, who at 10 years old started his own tree farm. Each year the business has grown, with this year’s crop of Okanese poplar trees selling by the hundreds.

Sam’s second business venture, Montmartre Hockey Camp, attracted local kids for eight sessions at the family farm this summer where dry-land training and off-ice strength development was part of the structured afternoon sessions.

The eldest Chittenden is saving to buy a car, which will add to his purchases of a second-hand snowmobile and some of his own hockey equipment.

Renate, a social worker who has been operating her own contract business for 10 years, takes care of the finances of her and her husband’s rural electronics company, Chitt-tronics.

Renate says she and Cory have encouraged their children to think creatively about generating their own money because of the qualities it instills.

“It helps them learn that if they want something, they have to work for it,” said Renate, adding that confidence and leadership skills have come out of all three entrepreneurial activities undertaken by her kids.

With the Borscht for Birth Control campaign still going strong, the Chittenden girls will donate all extra funds to the Sask Alley Cats Association.

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