Reva Marshall has only lived at Lake Tallavana in Havana 5 years, yet she has become a difference maker in this short time partly by spreading sweetness to help a friend with cancer. Reva met her friend at Oscar’s Restaurant in Havana.
Reva had been making a sweet concoction of saltine crackers, butter, brown sugar and chocolate chips and taking these cookies called ‘crack’ to the Presbyterian Church Community dinners. People loved them. Even people who didn’t think they wanted to try one would return for more after tasting one.
When Reva found out about her friend’s illness, she decided to bag those cookies and sell them at Oscars with the profit going to help her friend.
Reva had only lived in her home at Lake Tallavana for 1 year when she lost her husband, Ed. She was determined not to let this keep her down and she has thrown herself into community service ever since.
How did your friend react to you selling cookies for her benefit?
She didn’t want me to do it at first. I had to convince her that this was a blessing to me as well as a blessing to her. I am Jewish and I have an obligation to fulfill. This helps me fulfill that obligation which states “I pledge charity in their behalf.” This is my way of giving back.
You are in such a sweet business. Do you have trouble resisting your own product?
No, I don’t usually eat the cookies. They are really good with a glass of red wine or a glass of champagne, however, and sometimes I can’t resist them then.
Is this an old family recipe or is it a new creation?
Neither one. I think the recipe might be off the back of an old chocolate chip bag.
Do you think you might expand your business?
No way. I was asked to sell bags at Weezies and other places but I am not that ambitious. I love what I’m doing but expanding is too much work.
I know you’ve been really busy in the community. Tell me about your other activities.
I’ve had fun attending the community dinners at the Presbyterian Church and I attend the downtown yoga classes. I’m on the hospitality committee at Lake Tallavana and am the current president of the Lake Tallavana Homeowners Association. I’m on the board of Havana Main Street and the treasurer of the Havana Garden Club. A friend and I won 3rd prize in the Havana Lawnmower parade. I love Havana. The people are so friendly. They told me at Oscars that even though I was a city girl, I fit right in with the downtown people. I have many ideas for improving the social life of Lake Tallavana and for getting Lake Tallavana residents more involved in the social life of Havana.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other women who might aspire to entrepreneurship and/or philanthropy?
Just do what makes you happy. If it makes you happy, it makes others happy.
By Judy Conlin