Knicely Done: Quadruplets to celebrate 20th birthday at family donut shop
HARLAN, Iowa. (WOWT) - It’s been a challenging and rewarding 20 years for Rodney and Angela Kenkel of Harlan, Iowa.
In 2002 they were expecting quadruplets, and the community was joining in support in advance of the births with a fundraiser.
On Saturday, April 9, the quads Grace, Mike, Matt, and Mark, will celebrate their 20th birthday and include an open house at the family business, Rise Donuts in Harlan.
Angie and her sister Kris started the business in January of this year with a specific purpose: To provide a job opportunity for each of the boys.
“Having our three sons work here has been a dream of ours,” explained the boys’ father Rodney. “They’re autistic and highly functioning. They do need guidance and in this setting, they’ve all merged here very well.”
“We feel they need a purpose in the community,” added Angie. “They need a job. We don’t want them to sit at home and watch TV all day.”
On Sunday morning the workday begins around 5:00 am instead of the normal 3:00 am. It’s a family affair with an added group of volunteers who work without pay.
“When Mom said she wanted me here by four or five, I was like are you kidding me?” said Grace who is a second-year college student. She and her older brother Joel both pitch in to make things work, knowing the way their brothers benefit from the experience.
“Everybody in town knows them,” observed Joel who has a full-time job in town. “They’re very popular, especially around school.”
It’s clear watching Mike, Matt, and Mark perform their duties that they embraced the work. And it was also clear that the customers enjoy the wide assortment of treats on display in the showcase.
“Best in the world,” said one man.
“They’re delicious,” said a young woman who was the first customer of the day.
“Very tasty, almost too tasty,” said a family friend who is an everyday customer.
“The demand has been overwhelming,” said Rodney. “I mean the first week we were open we couldn’t make them fast enough. We were selling out by 8 a.m.”
“The community has been awesome and patient,” said Angie. “A lot of prayers of course, lot of family support, friends support from a lot of volunteers!”
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