Huntington 10-year-old helping homeless in Haiti with homemade dog treat fund-raiser

Evie Webb, 10, of Huntington, uses Christmas-themed cookie cutters to shape her dog treats she will then bake and sell. The proceeds from her project go to help build earthquake-resistant houses in Haiti.
Evie Webb, 10, of Huntington, uses Christmas-themed cookie cutters to shape her dog treats she will then bake and sell. The proceeds from her project go to help build earthquake-resistant houses in Haiti. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published Dec. 21, 2017.

When Evie Webb journeys to Haiti next month, she will be able to claim at least two new homes that dog treats built.

The eloquent 10-year-old, a fifth grade student at Flint Springs Elementary, is baking homemade treats for pooches and selling them for donations to her project of funding earthquake-resistant homes in the ravaged country.

It all came about when she learned that millions in Haiti are still in need of aid years after an earthquake hit that region in 2010. Evie, only 8 at the time, wanted to help.

“My dad told me about how the people in Haiti live in really small houses, because their houses got destroyed, or they were living in tents in tent communities,” she explains. “I wanted to make that not happen anymore, and so I got together Evie’s Dog Treats.

“My dad asked me three questions: What do I love? What am I good at? And what do I know? I love dogs, I love baking and I knew that the families in Haiti were still living in tents.”

Evie, who loves dogs but doesn’t have one, started the venture to make homemade dog treats to raise funds; she sells them for only a donation. She is raising the money for Maxima SA, an organization in Haiti that has a foundation to build storm and earthquake-resistant homes for families.

Eva Webb, Evie’s mother, says the entire family has helped her with the venture, but it’s pretty much Evie’s baby.

“We try to help her in the process of understanding something she could do to try to help in a situation that needs help,” Eva Webb says. “We brainstormed with her and when she landed on that she seemed excited about it.”

Evie would sit outside various dog parks, selling the treats at the gate for donations as people brought their canines to use the park.

“Sometimes we brought our skates, and we would skate around, asking people if they wanted dog treats,” she adds.

Her family also rented a booth at the farmers market in Huntington and featured her treats on a Facebook page, mailing them off to online customers. They also sold ornaments, homemade dog toys and even tutus, among other items, to help boost the amount of donations.

Evie was largely inspired by her family’s “One Year Road Trip” project, in which the Webb family spent 14 months driving 37,000 miles across America to interview and videotape youths in every state who are changing the world in a positive way with their own “changemaker” projects.

“I wanted to be a changemaker too,” she says.

Matt Webb, Evie’s father who teaches filmmaking at Huntington University, will lead a group of 13 university students to go to Haiti during the upcoming J-Term in January to finish shooting the One Year Road Trip documentary and two other ministry assignments. Evie and her family will go along. She plans to do some swimming and hiking, but she will also meet up with representatives of Maxima and see where her change making donations are going.

“They buy the supplies for the house and will build it there,” she adds.

It costs $3,000 to purchase one of the homes for a displaced family in Haiti. So far, Evie has raised about $3,500. Her determination brought a surprise response from Maxima SA.

“Maxima said, ‘If you raise this much by this time’ they’ll match it – and they are matching her amount,” Eva Webb says, meaning they can build two houses instead of only one.

Evie is still baking the dog treats, raising as much money as she can before the Webb family leaves for Haiti. She has had some repeat customers, whose dogs relish the whole wheat and peanut butter-based biscuits, cut into various holiday and seasonal shapes. She says they taste good enough for people to munch on as well.

She’s also brought treats to the dogs at the Huntington Humane Shelter. They were well received, she says.

Evie is excited to know that her efforts over the past two years will result in a new home for at least two families.

“It feels really good,” she says, demurely. “I’m pretty excited.”

To purchase the dog treats or make a donation to Evie’s project, visit her Facebook page, Evie’s Dog Treats.

More information about the Maxima SA Foundation can be found on the Maxima Company’s website, maximasa.com/?page_id=2.