BY DEBORAH MOON
Portland Jewish Academy seventh-grader Jake Chisholm did not let a global pandemic interfere with his yearlong community service project to raise funds for the Portland Backpack Project. The project provides backpacks full of food to kids who are experiencing food insecurity.
Though his party will have to wait, Jake decided to finish his project to publish and sell a cookbook of mocktails he created. Proceeds from book sales are donated to the Portland Backpack Project. The first run of 100 books sold out quickly, and another 100 copies are on the way. Copies of Makeshift Mocktails: Mocktails for Every Season are $12. To order, visit jakechisholm.com.
Jake has attended PJA since first grade.
“It has been a wonderfully welcoming and supportive community for us, even though we are not Jewish,” according to an email from his parents, Carrie Wynkoop and Kari Chisholm.
Jake wanted to share some of the bar mitzvah experience all of his school friends were experiencing, so (in collaboration with his parents and teachers) he decided to do a community service project culminating in a big party.
“He’s always loved cooking, and in the last couple of years that love has turned to making creative drinks, so he came up with the idea of a cookbook for mocktails,” explain Carrie and Kari. “He’s always been a community-focused kid – one of the many reasons we love PJA – and for the past couple of years has been focused on inequality and food insecurity. He was exposed to the Portland Backpack Project at PJA and decided that, especially during the pandemic when those kids who depend on food at school didn’t have as much access to the program, he would donate the proceeds of his book to them.”
Jake experimented and created 26 mocktail recipes and organized them into four seasons. He developed the recipes, wrote all the descriptions and took all the pictures.
Jake says his dad likes to make cocktails. “He showed me how to make cocktails without the alcohol, otherwise known as mocktails. As soon as I started making them almost on a regular basis, I knew that I was hooked.”
Kari and Carrie say they are very proud of Jake. “It would’ve been easy for him to just spend some time coming up with fun drinks and leaving it there,” they write. “But he had to learn how to use Microsoft Publisher to create the book, type in all the recipes, come up with descriptions for them all, find photos, etc. It has been a long project with lots of ups and downs, but we’re thrilled that he saw it all the way through to the end.”
“The response has been very enthusiastic,” write Kari and Carrie. “We think that as folks move on from the holidays into a time when people are focused on getting healthy and not drinking so much alcohol, we’ll see the book sales pick up again. We even had a well-known bartender from Washington, D.C., order two copies of the book!”
And the family is planning a big 14th birthday party when the pandemic is over.