Cookies have always been a favorite treat, but some of them can now be called a feel-good snack, too.
Each year, cookie company Otis Spunkmeyer, San Leandro, Calif., hosts its Cookie Creation Event, inviting five children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to its corporate offices. The special guests tour the bakery and create their own unique cookies.
“A group of inspirational children, a little imagination and a well-stocked kitchen were all we needed to make this Wish Kids' Day a success,” said John Schiavo, president and C.E.O. of Otis Spunkmeyer. “We saw everything from malted balls and chocolate-covered cherries to jelly beans and sour candy. The best part, however, is being able to bring the inspiration of these Wish Kids to our employees. It's a reminder of why we support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It's about people sharing inspiration and hope, no matter what they're doing.”
From April 15 to June 15, customers can purchase Otis Spunkmeyer Wish Cookies, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The 2009 event raised $75,000 for the foundation.
“Otis Spunkmeyer and its employees have been great supporters in helping us bring joy to our courageous Wish Kids,” said David Williams, president and C.E.O. of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “Even beyond the donations, their interaction with our chapters and Wish Kids shows how fully they embrace our mission.”
Cookies also have played a charitable role in the Los Angeles area. Spearheaded by Tannaz Sassooni, the No Cookie Left Behind group regularly holds bake sales to raise money for the nonprofit organization Share Our Strength, which works to eliminate childhood hunger.
The philanthropy began in 2007, when Sassooni was contacted about promoting Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale on her popular food blog. Sassooni and some friends decided to go the extra mile by hosting an L.A. bake sale for the organization. The event was so successful that they continued running the sales, with the group growing from three to nine core members.
“All of us are very passionate about our event, and it really cannot happen without the individual contributions that each person makes,” Sassooni said.
After January's deadly earthquake in Haiti, however, the group decided to branch out, hosting Cookies Without Borders: A Bake Sale for Haiti. Professional bakers donated product, with local bakeries Cakes Suzette, Quinoa Cookies, Baking Whoopie, Valerie Confections and Bittersweet Treats pitching in.
“We had an enormous response to the call for bakers this year — people are so eager to contribute,” Sassooni said. “I've received lots of emails from people I've never met offering to bake all sorts of delicious goods.”
Donated items included saffron barberry teacakes, vanilla passion fruit cupcakes, chocolate Guinness cake, pumpkin bread pudding and, of course, myriad varieties of cookies. As of press time, more than $5,400 had been raised.