Cupcake business with sweet sentiment inspires support for those with autism
Members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department were in for a sweet surprise Sept. 11 when a local family showed their gratitude for first responders with a special delivery.
North Operations Lt. Pat Rich, who leads the Sheriff’s Department’s security operations for the Orange County Fair, was looking for a way to thank OCSD financial department employees for their work on the month-long event.
When he met Evan Eusebio at the Villa Park City Council meeting, Lt. Rich knew the best way to thank the team: cupcakes.
Evan, a 13-year-old with Autism Spectrum Disorder, founded Eviedoodles Kitchen with his mom, Wendi, to raise awareness for those with autism and to also raise money for Opportunity Matters – a nonprofit that provides services, social opportunities and educational options for those with disabilities.
From a young age, Evan would watch various baking shows on YouTube, scrawling his favorite recipes onto loose sheets of papers that he would keep stacked at home.
His mother estimates he saved about 2,000 recipes, tucking them into drawers and cabinets in their home.
“I finally thought, ‘Well let’s see about making some of these’,” Wendi said.
Wendi admits she was not one to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but she watched Evan as he crafted his recipes and saw the positive impact it had on him.
“We use baking to get him engaged,” Wendi said. “It’s a way for him to connect with his brother and me. I’ve had to learn how to love being in the kitchen. He’s my inspiration.”
A hobby then turned into a business venture when the Eusebios founded Eviedoodles Kitchen nearly two year ago. Their cottage industry splits its profit three ways: a portion to for business expenses, a portion for Opportunity Matters and a small portion goes to Evan.
“His money goes to building his train collection,” his mom said. “He still really loves Thomas the Train.”
However their greater purpose of educating the community on individuals with autism is what drew Lt. Rich in, prompting him to support their business.
“When I met Evan, I was so impressed with what they were doing in our community and I wanted to support them,” he said. “And then I tried their cupcakes; they’re some of the best I’ve ever had. I thought it would be great to buy some for the financial team who was such an integral part of ensuring the OCSD operations at the OC Fair ran smoothly.”
But then Evan and his mom flipped the script on Lt. Rich. Realizing it was the anniversary of 9-11, Evan decided to donate three dozen cupcakes as a gesture of appreciation for our first responders and the under acknowledged support staff who work behind the scenes every day to enable the first responders to keep us safe.
On Sept. 11, they delivered the treats – some adorned with the Sheriff’s challenge coin seal made out of fondant – to OCSD headquarters.
“We talk to Evan all the time about being safe and who to talk to if he ever needs help – deputies and police officers,” Wendi said. “We just want to thank everyone in law enforcement for all you do in keeping the community safe.”
Evan and his mom met more than 20 members of the Sheriff’s Department, including Sheriff Don Barnes, who presented the teen with a challenge coin and a donation for his business. Lt. Rich and other members of the department also donated some of their own money to support Evan’s venture.
“At the meeting, Evan didn’t have a ton to say but I could tell he was taking everything in,” his mom shared later on their Instagram page, @eviedoodleskitchen. “That was confirmed when last night I could hear him saying, “Yahoooo, yahoooo, Lieutenant Rich and the Sheriff are my NEW friends!”
We are proud to call Evan a friend and thankful for his support of law enforcement (not to mention his talent for making delicious sweet treats!)