What started out as a little holiday baking group with a few girlfriends has morphed into a big event to support Trillium Family Services.
This year, a small group of volunteers and I baked hundreds of cookies that were then decorated with children living at the Parry Center, which provides residential mental health services to youth in crises. As a mother of a son with Asperger’s, their services are dear to my heart, and it really is transformative to see some of these kids come in with a low mood and watch them find joy and their creative spirit through decorating cookies.
In previous years, I did all the baking and decorating at my home — baking 700 gingerbread and sugar cookies by myself and hosting over 50 people to decorate them. But I wanted to give more and bring the simple act of decorating cookies to those who don’t have the opportunity to do so at home. So now I put together a small group of volunteer bakers, “power bake” about 400 cookies in a half day, mix about 12 pounds of powdered sugar, and then bring tablecloths, containers of sprinkles and the cookies to a party at the Parry Center.
This year, we hosted about 40 kids who came through in small groups over several hours. I was told by Shanin Engman, the volunteer coordinator, that the kids and staff ask for two holiday events every year: the Oregon Symphony and the “Cookie Lady”— that’s me. My kids often join me to host, and this year my daughter Erin was able to come.
I am consistently impressed with the caring and patience the staff shows toward the children. To support their great work, please visit https://trilliumfamily.org/support-trillium/donate/.