Environment: PROD

Jillian Maher

Elmhurst, IL

What do 12 pounds of flour, 11 pounds of butter, 10 pounds of sugar, 8 pounds of chocolate chips, 7 hours of warm summer sun make? They make 790 - 1,000 cookies - for Cookies for Kids' Cancer, yielding a grand total of $2,016 happily raised from three bakes sales.

I first heard about Cookies for Kids' Cancer on the Rachel Ray Show in 2012 and was inspired by Liam's story. I'm only a high school student but I would like to make a difference. I thought what better way to combine my love of baking and volunteering together. I first involved my friend Annie and then additional friends joined our efforts. We painted signs for our table, designed thank you cards to attach to each package of cookies, ordered matching Cookie for Kids' t-shirts from the website and set up shop! We have held 3 bake sales and plan on hosting more in the future.

For the big events we asked a local church to use their kitchen so the baking would go more quickly. We baked 6 varieties of cookies and used the recipes from the Cookies for Kids' Cancer cookbook. We go around to local businesses, such as grocery stores, bakeries and restaurants asking for baking supply donations to be able to donate more money. I was shocked at how generous people have been.

Our bake sales have been held at the local community events such as, Elmhurst Panhellenic Fashion Show, Elmhurst Art in the Park, and Elmhurst Garden Walk and Faire. At one two day bake sale, we sold majority of our 1000 cookies on the first day and we had to bake more cookies on Saturday night and then more again on Sunday afternoon because we ran out of cookies again. The packages of cookies were just flying off the table. It was so exciting!!

At the Elmhurst Garden Walk and Faire event we met Miss Teen Illinois, Megan Rienal who tweeted out her support for our cause. Our most meaningful source of encouragement, however, was at the Elmhurst Art in the Park event when a 12-year-old girl going through chemotherapy came up to the booth and thanked us for helping. It made all the hard work worth it!! We also have been very lucky to have the support and encouragement of our families and friends.

We freeze the cookies that do not sell at our bake sales, set up a small table with a sign, donation jar and basket of cookies to sell at a local hair salon. We drop off a few packages each week until all the cookies are sold. One woman at the salon purchased 12 packages of cookies to help our cause!

We plan on continuing in college getting our sorties involved, selling one cookie at a time to do our share to help Cookies for Kids' Cancer raise money for pediatric cancer research. Giving each child the privilege we have had.... a lot of birthdays!