San Benito High junior Beatriz Ocampo-Dizon has always enjoyed baking sweets in the kitchen since she was a child, slowly building a passion for it without realizing it.
The 17-year-old Hollister resident has now taken those baking skills and started her own company, B.D. Treats, with a plan to offer affordable delicious Christmas baked goods and give back to the community.
“I basically made something out of it,” she said.
Beatriz said every penny she makes will be donated directly to the Community FoodBank of San Benito.
Customers have been placing orders via Facebook or Instagram (bd.treats), snagging items off the menu such as Hot Chocolate Bombs at three for $4 and six for $7, chocolate crinkle cut cookies ($4-12), chocolate covered pretzel rods ($4-13), cinnamon rolls ($6-15) and peppermint bark ($7-13). Beatriz can deliver her homemade sweets for a $2 delivery fee.
Beatriz, who is originally from New Jersey, has always considered herself a generous person who always wanted to help in some kind of fashion. She was bored one day and the idea popped in her head that she wanted to begin selling things that people can enjoy, but also give back to the community she lives in, especially those directly affected by Covid-19.
“People have been laid off, companies have gone out of business and I just want to find a way to give back because I’m lucky enough to have food and stuff like this,” she said. “Unlike other people, especially right now because the coronavirus has really taken a toll on a lot of people and their home lives.”
Beatriz added that putting together a project like this has been a life changing experience because it’s the first time she’s challenged herself to run a business.
“But it’s not for me, it’s for the community, really,” she said. “It’s been a really good experience and I’m so grateful for the fact that people do order from me and that I can just give back to people.”
Sarah Nordwick, community engagement and development director at Community FoodBank, said that Beatriz might think her operation is small but she’s already making a huge impact in her community.
She hasn’t connected with Beatriz to discuss the details of her monetary donation. Still, Nordwick believes that a high school student’s contributions can spark an interest in people and be an inspiration to those who feel that they want to give back to the community.
“We really appreciate when people take initiative like this to be creative on how to get money to the food bank,” Nordwick said.
Nordwick mentioned that Community FoodBank is serving triple the amount of people than they normally do around this time of the year. In November, they served more than 16,000 opportunities versus the 5,500 they do in an average year.
“These little projects like this really make a big impact,” she said.
Beatriz currently works at SaladWorks in Hollister and is a full time high school student. Yet, she finds time to pre-bake and pre-package items to make her job a tad bit easier. An example of this would be rolling together the dough and filling for the cinnamon rolls, cutting it up into portions, freezing it and having them ready to bake for the following day.
“It is pretty hard but I think I’ve gotten the hang of it,” she said.
She admits that it gets stressful, but then she quickly becomes satisfied when she hears back from her customers telling her how delicious the treats were.
“It’s really rewarding and it’s just a really good feeling to have people appreciate you and be proud of you for the stuff you’ve been doing,” she said. “And knowing that you’re making an impact on people, it’s a really good thing.”
Beatriz encourages others to try something new because starting a business is something that she’d never done before.
“Having your own business, it’s something really scary but I’ve always been taught to take risks and just to go out after what you want and to help people,” she said. “It’s just something really rewarding.”