Michael's desserts make life sweeter
Michael Platt (pictured above) isn’t your average 13-year-old. While many of his contemporaries will be shooting balls through hoops — or just shootin’ ‘em up playing Fortnite — Michael is an entrepreneur. More unusually, he’s not running a business just to turn a profit: “I knew that I wanted to make a business, but I knew I didn’t just want to make money — I also wanted to help people at the same time,” Michael told Washington DC TV, WJLA. Michael’s business is baking; to be specific, baking cupcakes. He founded Michaels Desserts two years ago with the aim of tackling food inequality. “As I see it,” says Michael in his website blurb, “food is a right, not a privilege.”
Raised in a home of educators and advocates, Michael displayed a social awareness from an early age. Deciding to set up his company when he was just 11, Michael chose a one-for-one business model: for every dessert he sells, he gives another to someone in need. When people tell him his business is unsustainable, Michael shrugs and says: “I just look at those people and think about the next cupcake I’m going to give away!”
Costing $15 for four, Michael sells around 75 cupcakes a month. On top of that, he bakes 100 extra to donate to the hungry and homeless — kids in particular. “I know I like cupcakes, but also cupcakes are part of a child’s childhood so they should get them,” Michael told The Washington Post — just one of the many media outlets that have latched on to Michael’s story. A story that's all the more remarkable when you learn that, in sixth grade, Michael was diagnosed with epilepsy and began having severe seizures. Baking, he discovered, calmed him.
Giving away cupcakes has taught Michael that a small gesture can have a big impact. “I’ve passed a cupcake to someone sitting with all their possessions in a shopping cart and had them tell me that this one simple act gave them hope,” he says. “I’ve seen a cupcake inspire smiles, tears, amazement, joy, satisfaction, happiness.” And while Michael is well aware that a cupcake won’t solve food insecurity, “a tasty treat when times are tough,” he says, “can make life sweeter.”