Seven years ago I was looking for something to do around Christmas to introduce Snuggler to the idea of helping others. I wanted it to be something that was genuinely helpful, and concrete enough that she would remember it. I hit on the idea of baking cookies for those in need, though I wasn’t quite sure how we could bake enough to make a dent in the needs of our local food pantry. And thus the idea for the Cookie Project was born.
The Cookie Project asks people to bake holiday cookies (preferably sturdy ones, without nuts because of allergies), and package them four to a ziplock bag. We set up a drop-off point at our local real estate agent for a weekend. The following Monday we bring the collected cookies down to the food pantry. end result: each bag of food distributed during the week before Christmas has a baggie of home-baked cookies in it.
This is a super-easy project to coordinate, and it’s a win-win. Parents spend time with their kids doing something special, with an opportunity to help others. It's not expensive, and no one has to do anything heroic. The food pantry staff are always uplifted by this project, knowing that there are other people out there who care.
All you need to do this next year is find a way to let people know about the project (an email list, school group, church, whatever) and set up a drop-off point. Get clearance with your local soup kitchen, senior drop-in center, halfway house, or nursing home ahead of time, and find out how many cookies they need. Here's our haul for this year:
I don't know exactly how many cookies we received, but somewhere between 30 and 40 families participated. Most people contributed 2-3 dozen cookies, which means we'll come close to our goal of putting something special into 300 bags of food.
Here's to community!