Alta Women's Auxiliary

Alta Women's Auxiliary

Amid the hustle and bustle of Alta, California's Memorial Day Flea Market, shoppers take a moment to stop—and smell the rolls!

Hundreds follow their noses to the booth where Marvel Irvine and her friends in the Women's Auxiliary sell freshly baked Pecan-Raisin Cinnamon Rolls.

"When I arrive at the market with the rolls, there's already a line," Marvel says. "The fragrance is irresistible!"

Proceeds go to the Auxiliary's savings fund, set up for special needs. Groups like the Alta Volunteer Fire Department know just who to ask when they need help buying radios, boots and gear.

"We're also one of the most popular booths at a winter craft show," says Marvel. She typically provides around 150 rolls per event, resulting in $200 to $300 for the fund.

Seven other active Auxiliary members participate in the delicious project, Marvel is quick to add. "I bake the rolls, another woman picks them up and then we all take turns selling them."

Champion Baker

"I can make about 48 rolls in 2 hours, start to finish," Marvel says modestly. "I buy yeast in 1-pound bags so I won't run out, and I store it in the freezer. This is a tip I got long ago, and I pass it along."

Besides raising money, her famous rolls lift spirits. The Auxiliary ladies usually share some free of charge with workers in other booths, just to brighten their day.

Additionally, the close-knit community of 400 depends on each other when times get tough. At an elevation of 3,500 feet, they get lots of snow and storms. It isn't uncommon for a tree to fall and damage a house.

When Marvel hears of a misfortune, she'll bake a batch of rolls for the family and the volunteer workers who pitch in to get things back to normal. "It's a good feeling to know you're helping someone out—and the community definitely appreciates our efforts!"