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Young entrepreneurs raise money for John Ball Zoo's red pandas

This is the fifth time Samantha Toland has put on this fundraiser, which began when she was only three. Now, her younger sister is in on the fun.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Streets of the East Hills neighborhood are coming alive with the holiday spirit Thursday night. It's filled with lights, the sounds of Christmas music and the bustle of people doing some holiday shopping.

As you step into Le Bon Macaron, Charlotte and Samantha Toland's stand is the first thing you see. It's filled with treats including cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels and of course, macarons.

But this stand isn't a normal part of the store. It's something Charlotte's father made for her years ago. She asked if she could have a bake sale and her parents agreed, so long as she donated the proceeds.

Charlotte picked something that is near and dear to her.

"I like to go to the zoo to spend time with my family and look at the red pandas," said Charlotte, who is nearing her eighth birthday.

Wyatt and Wasabi, the red pandas at John Ball Zoo, have stolen Charlotte's little heart. You can tell by the red panda on her shirt. 

Since she was three years old, she's been putting on this fundraiser to help them.

The first year, she raised $600. Last year, that number bumped to nearly $1,200. This year, with her two and a half-year-old sister Samantha at her side, Charlotte is looking to raise around $1,000 for the red pandas.

Thursday was the first night of the fundraiser. She'll be selling goodies at Le Bon Macaron through the weekend while supplies last.

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