Matthews-based Guiltless Pleasure Desserts now offers fundraising for nonprofits
by Kara Lopp
Former Carolina Panthers kicker Tommy Barnhardt realized his childhood dream of playing professional ball. Now the Matthews business owner wants to use his low-calorie dessert products to help local kids do the same.
Barnhardt recently launched a fundraising option for local sports organizations, schools and other nonprofits through the sale of his Guiltless Pleasure Desserts, graham cracker-crust milk chocolate, coconut cream and banana cream pies, with 160 calories and 5 grams of sugar per serving. Groups can sell two pies for $12.25, with the nonprofit getting $3 from every sale. Barnhardt also donates three rewards, a 40-inch TV, iTouch phone and an iPad, for organizations to use as sales incentives. If an organization reaches a high level of sales, Barnhardt will donate an additional 5 percent of the group’s total sales, he said. Organizations only get the number of pies they sell so there’s no extra inventory, he said.
Now a Matthews resident, Barnhardt, 48, grew up in China Grove and knew at 8 years old he wanted to play football full-time.
“I was fortunate to live out my dream and what I wanted to do was create an opportunity for these younger kids to be successful,” he said. “We put a good product out there … and we should be able to do something good and give back to help these kids live their dreams.”
Since launching the fundraising initiative in February, the company already has partnered with sports teams in Tampa, Fla. And plans are in the works with a school and sports teams in Matthews.
The pies are Barnhardt’s solution to his own struggle to find healthier desserts.
A 14-year National Football League punter who played for the Panthers in 1995, Barnhardt realized early in his professional career that he was prone to light-headedness and dizziness during practice. In 1991, when he was a New
Orleans Saint, Barnhardt passed out while working with a trainer. He was taken to a hospital, where doctors said his blood sugar was dangerously low.
He was told to combat the problem with diet, so he ate candy and drank sugar-filled energy drinks on the field. But weight gain soon followed, and he came dangerously close to being fined by the NFL for being overweight, he said.
After his last pro season with the Washington Redskins in 2000, Barnhardt dabbled in real estate development and the financial industry before turning to pies in September 2009.
The sweetener used, Zsweet erythritol – a natural sugar derivative – is said to be safe for anyone who needs to control sugar and carbohydrate intake, including diabetics.
The mousselike pies take about three minutes to make and are ready to eat after an hour in the refrigerator. The pies already have been sold through the Home Shopping Network and are available online at www. guiltlesspleasuredesserts.com.
Want to know more?
For more information about fundraising options through Guiltless Pleasure Desserts, e-mail Barnhardt at email@example.com.