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A local business in Pismo Beach is helping more than 400 children in Guatemala

CANDLE STORY .jpg
Posted at 6:42 PM, Apr 14, 2023

One local woman is spending her days bringing a positive light to the lives of hundreds of children in Guatemala and it all started with one life-changing trip.

“That was the moment in my heart that I'm like, I need to do something about this. Even if I benefit ten kids, I want to do something about it," said Mayan Collective owner Karla Wenger.

A trip to Guatemala was the moment that changed it all.

“We were going to that rural area with my family in a van. We wanted my husband to go see actually how they live and I just remember outside the freeway there were a bunch of kids waving goodbye, and I asked my mom, 'why are they waving goodbye?' and my mom said, 'well, they're waiting for somebody to drop a toy for them,'" Wenger explained.

It was through that experience and Karla’s giving heart that the Mayan Collective was born.

“So we wanted to name it the Mayan Collective to represent the people we are serving and also my culture because I'm from Guatemala," Wenger said.

She started her business online during the pandemic, but making candles was a longtime hobby.

Wenger told KSBY she knew of bad chemicals in some candles and she wanted to make her own toxin-free clean candles.

“The Candle Bar, you come, we give you everything you need, we give you soy wax," she said.

“Super fulfilling and rewarding just to be part of this in any way that I possibly could," said staff member Vera Castillo.

Ten percent of the proceeds are sent back to help children in Guatemala. Every year, Karla and her husband, Spencer, visit Guatemala and host a huge Christmas celebration for 400 to 500 children.

There’s an even bigger goal on Karla’s mind — to build a school in Guatemala.

There are many more projects in the works for Karla and her team, including opening up a refillery in The Village of Arroyo Grande in May.