As Christmas neared, I was thinking of the small cookie exchanges I have done in the past and how I wished I could do one this year. Then an idea just popped into my head—cookies for the homeless shelter. Certainly the homeless individuals would enjoy homemade Christmas cookies! I knew that was what I wanted to do but needed help from others to make it a reality. I contacted Shelters of Saratoga and was told it was a great idea. Due to Covid19 they had strict rules about donations, how the cookies were to be packaged and when they could be delivered but they said they would help make it possible. The staff seemed excited! I emailed those in the church who I knew were bakers and proposed the idea. And within hours over 20 people responded that they would each make two dozen cookies.
On the Friday before Christmas, cookies by the dozens kept arriving on my back porch—all sizes and shapes and colors and flavors—some forty plus dozen packaged in little bags of three cookies each. That is a lot of cookies! On December 22nd, Eric and I delivered the cookies to Shelters of Saratoga from where they would be dispersed to the Code Blue Homeless Shelter, the spill over Homeless Shelter and Shelters of Saratoga. We had boxes of cookies to deliver, but were met by a horde of people who swiftly emptied our car. There seemed to be electricity in the air as cookies were rushed into the building. We had the opportunity (with masks and social distancing) to chat with the new Executive Director, Duane Vaughn, and the person in charge of donations, Rosemary. When we emerged from our 10 minute chat, the cookies were already being divided and prepared for delivery; no time wasted letting them sit on the counter! The Shelter expressed profuse thanks to the UUs for such a wonderful gift.
When I returned home, happy at heart and feeling so pleased, I sent a note to all the bakers and shared our visit to the Shelter. I was blown away by the responses. I had feared my request for cookies might put an added burden on people during a busy time of the year and add stress to their days when we are already living in a very stressful time. But here is what individuals said: I enjoyed making cookies like never before. I was happy to know I was bringing happiness to people in need. Let’s make it a yearly project. I made my mom’s favorite cookies; it was fun to share them like she always did. It was a pleasure to participate. This outreach was a wonderful idea; I enjoyed being a part of it. I think this is a tradition in the making. It is good to put our values into action. My fears definitely were not realized. Everyone enjoyed the project!!
The cookie elves included Audrey Belt, Caren Baker, Faye Mihuta, Ann Samuelson, Mary Cobb, Becky Hawkins, Judith Thomas, Laurie Singer, Dina Jamison, Susan Hamlin, Barbara Floeser, Nancy Berggren, Elizabeth Collins, Arliss Nygard, Jenn Pratt, Marian Bigelow, Linda Miner, Trudy Waddell. Carolyn Lansberry, Julie Holmberg, MaryAnn Miller, Sue Bender, Beth Flynn and Bev Lawson. I apologize if I missed anyone. Let me know and I will add your name for the repeat appearance of this article in Journey Well next Friday.
Thanks to all the bakers of cookies. You made them with love and caring and gave sunshine and sweetness to those who needed it most during the holidays.
Happy New Year,