All Megan Fante had was a kitchen and an idea.
Now, Fante is making as many as 2,000 caramel apples a year that sell for $10 each. Her efforts have netted between $10,000 to $20,000 a year that she’s donated to schools, libraries, and a hospice.
“On a busy day, I do about two to 300,” Megan told CBS News’ Barry Peterson.
Husband Rob, an oculofacial plastic surgeon, pays for the supplies and pushes in those wooden handles.
“I’m lucky to have a wife who’s got such a great idea,” Rob said.
Childhood friend Kelley Fox is a Paralympic silver medal winner. And when it comes to raising money, Kelley and Megan didn’t stop with apples, riding together in bicycle races that raised $50,000.
“I gave a friend an apple and she just held it in her hand and just started doing a dance,” Fox said. “She was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is for me?’ It brings joy.”
It all started with Megan’s mom, Marie, who raised 10 kids, started a hospice and ran a food bank out of her garage.
“I would ask her, ‘could I go down the street and play at Peggy’s house?’ And she’d say, ‘I need you to bag 50 pounds of rice and 50 pounds of beans in 1-pound bags and then you can go play,” Megan said. “So we all did it. We all did it.”
Susan Schmitz, another childhood friend, shared her thoughts on why demand keeps growing.
“Basically, word of mouth, you know, everybody receives them as a present,” Schmitz said. “Then they want to buy them next year for their friends and family.”
And this year the apples will help an innovative cause. Susan Mooney founded Tall Tales Ranch, which will provide housing for adults with intellectual and developmental differences.
“This is a population of people who want to work,” Mooney said. “Who want to live independently, who are going to have to move out of their parents’ house at some point because their parents are aging.”
Another good thing about the candy apples: “Not only have they helped us raise funds, but they help us raise awareness,” Mooney said.
Back in the kitchen, there’s one more selling point for the apples.
“So we don’t count calories. There’s no calories in an apple when you do it for charity,” Megan said. “I think the point is, is that anybody can do anything good, we can do it in our own backyard.”