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Buddy’s Biscuits: A Tale of Hope, Community, and Canine Love

Meet Andrew, the original "Buddy", who makes biscuits on a mission for awareness.

Buddy’s Biscuits was founded earlier this year as a fundraising initiative by 14-year-old Andrew Sholl, a local autistic boy looking to offset the cost of a service dog. Now, the business born out of “a love of baking and dogs” serves as an inspirational example of the power of community, acceptance, and hope for the Sholl family. 

Navigating Life with Andrew

As an infant, Andrew was diagnosed with a rare seizure disorder; a diagnosis that his mom Maryanne says, “changed the course of his life.” As a result, his developmental progression would be anything but predictable.

His health journey would go on to include countless seizures, a multitude of tests, and an additional diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Andrew is nonverbal, and his autism is considered clinically severe.

“Some of Andrew’s greatest challenges lie in smaller moments and involve things that many take for granted,” Maryanne reflected in a recent interview. Quick and accessible transportation to schools, a diminished sense of community, the inability to complete tasks such as dressing and putting shoes on, and other activities of daily living are among those challenges.

Despite these struggles, Andrew’s wants and needs are not unlike those of any other teenager.

Baking for a Cause

“I think there is a common misconception that individuals who have disabilities, especially on the more severe end, don’t have these wants and wishes,” Maryanne said.  “Andrew has such simple wants, like to make friends and feel included.”

Maryanne listed Andrew’s many strengths and interests with pride. He loves animals. He loves art. He loves sports. He loves reading books. He loves baking. He loves to socialize, and he loves people.

With help from friends and family, Andrew merged many of those passions to create a business that would ultimately lend itself to easing some of his hardships. His family nickname “Buddy” became the moniker for his passion project as he began baking dog biscuits and delivering them to area shelters.

“We were just making them for friends and family,” Maryanne recalled. Not long after and knowing that Andrew had been on United Disability Service’s list for a service dog, a friend recommended that Andrew begin selling the biscuits as a fundraiser.

A Paw-sitive Impact

The United Disability Service Foundation (UDS) is a Lancaster-based non-profit “committed to helping seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives,” per their mission. Its inspiration dates back to 1965, when a young Lancaster local was unable to attend a showing of “Mary Poppins” with peers at a community theater due to the building’s wheelchair inaccessibility.

Today, UDS consists of “over 350 caring, dedicated employees who proudly serve people with disabilities and the aging in 40 counties across Pennsylvania,” according to their website. 

Last year, they provided more than 6,000 people with various services aimed at achieving greater independence. This year, through their service dog program, Andrew hopes to be among those UDS has helped.

For Andrew, a well-matched and trained service dog would be able to alert caregivers of any medical events, assist with anxiety, help Andrew with communication, allow him to move more freely throughout his home, and so much more.

The process of bringing home a service dog is costly, though, and it takes months to properly train a companion tailored to Andrew’s specific needs. In the meantime, Andrew continues to share his story through Buddy’s Biscuits.

 Baking A Difference

“I think it’s helping to build something he feels proud to do,” Maryanne shared. “I see the community he’s building and I am grateful for the added safety, extra love, and positive energy sent out in the universe towards him.”

This positive energy is not limited to humans, either. Happy customers have flooded Maryanne and Andrew with glowing reviews from their pups.

“People send us videos of their dogs eating Buddy’s Biscuits and Andrew just loves it,” Maryanne said. “He uses his augmented communication system to express his reactions to the videos with responses like ’they’re so fluffy, I want to pet, very cute’. He adores seeing the videos.”

In a few short months, the entire process has already had a profound impact on Andrew as he learns to juggle his business with his various therapies and his ABA-focused schooling. Through baking, he cultivates skills like reading, math, science, and patience. As he fulfills and distributes orders, he cultivates connections and a sense of accomplishment.

“People are learning his story, learning about him and supporting him, and he feels that sense of support,” Maryanne said. “I’m so grateful for how everyone has come together and supported Andrew in this mission of awareness and acceptance.”

Visit his Facebook page to learn more about Andrew or to support him in his mission. Through this page, Maryanne helps Andrew update his followers about his journey and post about his offerings.

Buddy’s Biscuits can also currently be purchased in the following physical locations: 

GET Café in Narberth

Full Spectrum Fitness in Bala Cynwyd

My-T Sharp Barbering Company in Philadelphia

Radiant Heart Yoga and Wellness Center in Broomall

Main Line Parent Contributing Writer. Learn more about Jen at https://www.jenwarnerwrites.com/