Every year my sister and I get together and bake Christmas cookies. It is one of my favorite activities over the holiday season. We light a fire in the fireplace and play Christmas carols all day. As the aroma of freshly baked cookies begins to waft through the house my kids and husband follow the smell to the kitchen to sample a still warm cookie or four. Many of these cookies will find their way to others as gifts–a little thank you to the mailman or the neighbors who can always be counted on for last minute items or pet assistance. The cookies spread cheer to my husband’s employees and the people who work at the agency that houses the food cupboard. As the rush and demands of the holiday season begin to encroach I always make sure I save a day for this event sometimes knowing that I will miss something else.
The other day as I was thinking about holiday events and planning activities, I thought fondly of my annual cooking making day. I happened to be at the food cupboard when I was having this reverie and was almost immediately brought up short. I can’t imagine how difficult maneuvering the holidays must be for someone who is food insecure. From Thanksgiving through Christmas and the New Year quite an emphasis is put on special foods, large meals and sweet treats. I felt a great sadness for those who can not escape the images of the abundance associated the holidays, and yet can not afford to partake in those treats. At that moment I knew I wanted to do something to help our clients experience a little bit of holiday cheer, but I knew I would not be able to accomplish this task alone.
This is where you, my elves, come in. I would like to be able to give every person who comes in to receive food for his or her household in the month of December a treat to make their month a little brighter. I am asking for donations of packaged baking mixes, like quick breads or brownies, especially ones geared for the holiday season, for instance gingerbread or pumpkin bread or brownies with seasonal add ins. I couldn’t find it in my grocery store, but I’m pretty sure Ghirardelli had a chocolate peppermint brownie mix out over the holiday season last year. Not every packaged mix will work, however. I am looking for mixes which only need the added ingredients of eggs, water and oil. These added items–eggs and cooking oil–are regularly provided by the pantry. I had initially been thinking of getting cookie mixes, but most of those require a stick of butter or margarine and many food insecure households just don’t have that luxury. I did find that the peanut butter cookie mix from Duncan Hines does not call for butter, so it is okay. Lastly, the donations must be mixes as opposed to slice and bake cookie tubes or frozen cookie dough, as we do not have the extra space to store items that need to be refrigerated or frozen.
I have estimated that for every household receiving food in December to receive a treat I will need approximately 250 mixes. If any mixes are leftover at the end of December, they will continue to be given out in January. So many of you in the past have expressed an interest in helping in some way and I thought this would be a fun, uplifting way to donate. If you are interested in participating, please contact me and we can work out a way for me to collect the mixes or for them to be delivered. Let’s help bring a little holiday cheer to someone in need.