Back to articles

Sweet Success

Burn Care

Ten-year-old Madeline Reade already knows the recipe for entrepreneurial success:


  1. Add one large dose of generous spirit.
  2. Mix with grassroots fundraising effort.
  3. Donate to worthy purpose that benefits injured children.
  4. Enjoy!
Yields: Countless servings!

Looking for a way to add to her own college fund, while also helping out a good cause, Madeline came up with the idea to collect favorite family recipes, print them on brightly-colored cards and package them in little holiday gift bags, selling them for $12 each.

Her charitable cause of choice: The Chevron Burn Fund, which helps uninsured children receive treatment at the Grossman Burn Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital.

The Aera Clinic, the hospital’s outpatient burn center on H Street, opened in June 2009. The in-patient unit – a 4-bed ICU facility within SJCH built to specifically treat more serious burn injuries – opened in September 2010.

Each location has treated more patients than had ever been anticipated, especially children. A total of 153 pediatric burn patients were treated in 2010.

This hit home with little Madeline.

“My grandma’s friend had a grandson, who got burned …,” said the fifth-grader. “I wanted to donate to the burn center we have here, so kids who get hurt can stay here.”

Why a cookbook?

Well, Madeline’s mother, Amanda Reade is a chef; and her grandmother, Genie Reade is an avid cook herself.

That, plus the timing of the holiday season, made assembling some of the Reade family’s tastiest dishes the perfect business plan.

“A lot of people bought them as hostess gifts or party favors for all those holiday get-togethers,” said Grandma Genie.

From there, the cookbook business was broiling!

With the help of little sister/salesgirl-in-training, Andrea, the first printing of the cookbook nearly sold out! The Reades estimated they ventured off to Office Depot for four or five re-print sessions and eventually bought out all the polka dot gift bags they could find at Target.

“I love polka dots,” Madeline revealed.

“That was something she always wanted as part of the ‘look’ for this – she had to have polka dots involved some how, though we did use holiday-themed bags too,” added Grandma Genie.

Madeline’s recipe collection now is available for purchase at the SJCH Gift Gallery – though it has sold out twice! All the proceeds continue to go to the Chevron Fund.

Thanks to a matching funds offer from Grandpa “Papa” Lynn Reade – although he admittedly didn’t expect the cookbook to sell quite so well – the total amount raised directly by Madeline grew and grew some more.

With plans to one day attend the University of Hawaii, Madeline knows those little “extras” are going to add up for her parents, Scott and Amanda, so she wanted to do her part. Yet, she also knows that children who need burn treatment should never do without either, so she wanted to help them too.

Just before returning to school after the holiday break, Madeline and her family visited the Aera Clinic to officially make a donation of $1,000!

Though a bit shy doing so, amidst the television news cameras, Madeline still managed a sweet smile and  proudly presented the check to SJCH Foundation President/Executive Director Kevin Burton, who thanked her for such generosity.

“If this little girl can put together her own fundraiser like this and sell these cookbooks, then have the generous heart to donate the money for kids who need treatment at our burn center, imagine what she will be doing for people in this world when she’s an adult,” Burton said. “On behalf of the entire staff at San Joaquin Community Hospital, we want to thank Madeline for her donation and her family for supporting her good deed.”