Louisville teen baker inspires others, nominated for national aw - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville teen baker inspires others, nominated for national award

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local sibling duo who made headlines for helping people they don't even know with their baking, is at it again. This time, the nation's military is taking notice, and it all started from scratch.

Gabe Feinn was just eight years old at the time. "I found out that my mom had secretly signed me up for this random cake decorating class," Feinn, now 16, said. "I found that I might actually really like this."

Years later, Feinn and his younger sister, Livvy, were looking through a Samaritan's Purse catalog that they received in the mail. Each page offered a different need.

"We wondered, how can you make a difference buying chicken for someone? But we realized that they don't have those things," Feinn said.

They sold cupcakes in a garage sale, raising $35 in one afternoon. They continued to do more projects. "We said we want to do something big. We want to do something that takes a lot of faith."

The siblings decided to tackle the biggest project in the catalog: renovating a maternity ward in the Congo. They were able to raise $35,000 with their baking skills and other children's extraordinary things to be a part of their efforts.

"Each of those children had a story, like one little boy was born deaf and he wears a little cochlear implant and he's just so energetic and he was turning five, but he wanted to help other children who might have problems. So, he said to his mom, 'don't get me anything for my birthday, let's give money to the kids,'" Vicki Feinn said. "You look at that and you go, 'wow, my child's efforts, that one step of faith, is inspiring other children.' It's really just astonishing. It's an honor."

The concept of The Number One Team took shape. The siblings created the organization to invite other kids to help. "That's where the Number One Team came from, was that everyone can do one thing, everyone has one percent that they can give."

The Feinns traveled overseas to see their work in action. "Looking back, I realize that it's so much bigger than anything that I could ever imagined when I was actually doing it," Livvy Feinn said.

"It's just kind of like the stereotype that everyone knows about but when you go there and you see that, it's a lot crazier and more eye opening than you can ever imagine," Gabe Feinn said.

They hadn't even left before they were on to their next project.

"They would walk many miles to this blood red river, that was polluted by gold mining, it was just terrible," Feinn said. "And when the hospital was built, it had a water source in it. And so still, they run out of water every day because people would come to the hospital instead because it has clean water. So, going there, we realized that there are a lot more problems than just the healthcare."

In January 2016, they began raising the money for a water well in Niger, a $13,000 project. They talked to other kids about the water crisis, held a water bottle change challenge and started a "Walk a Mile in their Shoes Water Walk," a non-profit organization.

The nation is taking notice, including Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit serving America's military families. The organization selected Gabe as nominee for this year's Military Child of the Year innovator award. Feinn's father served on a nuclear submarine during the Cold War.

"There are a lot of issues in the world and yes, they are very, very big. One person alone cannot do them, but if one person would just do the one thing they can do, then imagine how many people would be doing that and we would have this huge ripple effect," Feinn said. "We're trying to inspire as many people as we can. My sister and I are only two people. But we are trying to inspire two more people who inspire two more people who inspire two more people. It really is a ripple effect of change that is going on that we really hope to continue."

Winners will be announced in March and will receive $10,000.

The siblings have another project in the works. They hope to provide dental care to kids at St. Vincent de Paul.

Copyright 2017. WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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