Guest Blog: The Alaska Cookie Bake-Off

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:08 am July 27, 2011

If you are reading this blog it means that you and I share a common ground. It means that you and I both recognize that while a good hug, a shoulder to cry on and an “I’m sorry” is appreciated by the families experiencing a battle with cancer, it simply isn’t enough. It must also mean that you understand that the only real thing you can do to help aside from emotional support is raise money and get it into the hands of researchers. And if you are on the Cookies for Kid’s Cancer website, it must mean you are looking for some way to take action in your community to maybe honor a loved one’s battle and/or join the movement of citizens working to help researchers find a cure. I am just one woman in one community trying to motivate others to create and hold fundraisers in their communities that are fun, memorable and of course profitable. It is my hopes that this blog with inspire you to raise funds whether it is through a bake sale, or through a fundraiser with an event that is a bit outside of the cookie box.

For my Anchorage based fundraiser, I worked along side of two women to make this happen. We set out to meet four major goals. They are as follows: 1.to honor the life and battle of Christy’s son Bryant  who lost his battle two years ago, 2. to hold a community oriented fundraiser to make members of our community feel a sense of togetherness and empowerment, 3. to put on an event that broke the mold of a stuffy fundraiser and, 4. to raise a hell of a lot of money!

After many conversations and a ton of caffeine we decided on a cookie bake off. The bake off would be between ten top bakeries and restaurants and the people attending would be the judge. We also held a silent auction, a raffle and provided attendees with a hip venue, drinks, appetizers and live music to make the evening feel like a Saturday night out. This is how the night looked:

People purchased their tickets at the door and got a bid number for the silent auction and their ballots at the door. They were then sent to another table to purchase raffle tickets. Raffle tickets could be used for the raffle, to buy t-shirts and purchase jewelry that we had for sale. Each raffle ticket was $5.00, t-shirts were 3 tickets, jewelry was 2, and raffle items varied from 1-3 tickets.

We had live music and beer and wine that was donated to us. When our supports came it they grabbed a drink and danced their way through the line of bakers, tasted cookies and talked with contestants about their creations. We  put out baker bios, cookie descriptions and allowed businesses to put out business cards and menus to promote themselves. After going down the line of cookies, guests found themselves at the raffle and silent auction table.

We decided to split our donations between a silent auction and raffle because we figured not everyone could afford to bid of the silent auction items but could possibly afford $25 in raffle tickets and have a shot at winning a free plane ticket or a head-to-toe spa package. This proved to be a great idea and very profitable. Who wouldn’t throw in $5-$10 for a chance at something that values at over $500? All items were donated locally put into packages. All businesses that donated also had a chance to set out cards, brochures etc. We filled the venue with facts about cancer, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and of course Bryant.

The night was a huge success. We utilized local media to advertise the event and put up fliers and postcards all over town to ensure a good turnout.  The cookies were a great conversations piece for everyone, even people that didn’t know each other had something to talk about with the bake off and auction items. Because all of the silent auction items were local donations, many of them came out to support our cause which made sort of a chic place to be. When all was said and done we after all the overhead was accounted for we raised about $9,000 on the night, which was great for our first fundraiser.

During the process of putting on this event we learned a few things:

1. Your community wants to support you and your cause.

People are basically kind hearted but store owners are also business oriented. To get donations you have to do two things: tug on their heartstrings and present to them why donating to this cause would benefit them. Often times we needed to visit a business 2 or three times before we got a donation but we chose not to  take “no” or “I’ll think about it” for an answer.

2.Corporations have a lot of money and it IS available to you.

Learn from our mistakes.  We decided to do this event in January which wasn’t enough time to even get one sponsor. Because of that, we lost out on thousands of dollars which disappointed and frustrated us to no end. We SO DESPERATELY wanted to send CFKC check for $20,000 and just weren’t able to do it this year due to our lack of knowledge about the process.

3. Call on everyone you know.

Help and donations sometimes come from places you least expect. Call on everyone you know. Everyone, and reach out in several ways, phone calls, emails, letters, Facebook, make your message hard to miss.

4. It’s totally worth it!

I am a full time working mother and a graduate student. It was sometimes a challenge to find time to put on this event. However, keeping in mind that a few tired days at work was nowhere near a chemotherapy treatment kept me going. When you see your fundraiser play out, it’s totally worth it. Also, if I have an hour at the end of the day for The Real Housewives of NJ, then I have an hour to solicit for donations.

It is in my hopes that I am able to turn this into an annual event and double our funds raised each year. This experience was satisfying to my soul. It means more to me than just writing a check. It’s getting involved and educating the masses about something that could happen to anyone. Please consider hosting a bake sale or event in your community.

Jen Baki

Anchorage, Alaska

We did it! Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Supporters Set Fundraising Record in May.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:08 am July 18, 2011

COOKIES FOR KIDS’ CANCER SUPPORTERS UNITE TO MAKE MAY 2011

THE ORGANIZATION’S BIGGEST FUNDRAISING MONTH ON RECORD

Events raise over half a million dollars and achieve largest match from longtime supporter

The Glad Products Company

Califon, NJ – July 18, 2011 Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and The Glad Products Company announce today that May 2011 was the biggest month on record in the organization’s nearly 3-year history with the most bake sales held and the most money raised in a month. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a national non-profit organization committed to raising funds to support research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer, the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 18 in the US. Founded by Gretchen and Larry Witt who were inspired by their son Liam’s courageous battle with cancer, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer inspires individuals, communities and businesses to help fight pediatric cancer through the concept of local bake sales.

During May, more than 300 individual events combined to raise over half a million dollars in donations to the organization. The achievement was inspired by what should have been the 7th birthday of the Witt’s son, Liam, on May 13th.  Known to many as Prince Liam the Brave, Liam came to the end of a courageous 4-year battle with cancer in late January. What followed was a call to action from both the organization and longtime corporate partner The Glad Products Company to honor Liam’s birthday and to inspire support for the fight against pediatric cancer. Glad stepped forward with the promise to match funds raised at bake sales in May up to $225,000. This match represents the company’s largest single donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer in the shortest amount of time. Because of the match,   Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s total income for May, counting both the event donations and the Glad match, totaled more than $750,000. 

“As a way to honor Liam and inspire people to join the cause, Glad held our largest match since we began supporting Cookies for Kids’ Cancer in 2009 in the shortest window of time,” shared Molly Steinkrauss, Public Relations Manager for Glad Storage Products. “It was inspiring to see how friends, families, communities and even strangers came together to help Cookies for Kids’ Cancer raise more money and host more bake sales in one month than ever before.”

 “We are humbled by and grateful for the goodness of people who host Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sales. And we are especially thankful to Glad for their ongoing support in the fight against pediatric cancer,” says Gretchen Holt Witt, founder of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. “Each day, our mission is to not only honor Liam’s love and passion for life but also to keep alive his desire to take care of others. We do this by supporting new, safer treatments for pediatric cancer, because every child deserves the chance to grow up. We already know children who are benefitting from treatments funded by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Every effort counts, and every dollar counts.”

The news of May’s record-breaking success comes on the heels of the organization’s announcement of $700,000 in grants to top pediatric cancer research centers, with plans to grant more funds again in September during pediatric cancer awareness month.

About Cookies for Kids’ Cancer: 

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded by parents inspired by their son’s fight against cancer. Today pediatric cancer remains the number one disease killer of children in the United States, due in large part to a lack of funding for research into new and improved therapies. Through the concept of local bake sales and online cookie sales, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer inspires individuals, organizations, and businesses to join in the fight against pediatric cancer by raising the funds and awareness necessary to change the facts of pediatric cancer and provide more families with the hope they deserve. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer grants funds raised to leading pediatric cancer research facilities including Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Texas Children’s Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Center. For more information, visit www.cookiesforkidscancer.org. Follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cookiesforkidscancer and Twitter www.twitter.com/cookies4kids.

The Glad Products Company
The Glad Products Company is wholly owned subsidiary of The Clorox Company.  The Clorox Company is a leading manufacturer and marketer of consumer products with 8,300 employees and fiscal year 2009 revenues of $5.5 billion. Clorox markets some of consumers’ most trusted and recognized brand names, including its namesake bleach and cleaning products; Green Works® natural cleaning and laundry products; Armor All® and STP® auto-care products; Fresh Step® and Scoop Away® cat litter; Kingsford® charcoal; Hidden Valley® and K C Masterpiece® dressings and sauces; Brita® water-filtration systems; Glad® bags, wraps and containers; and Burt’s Bees® natural personal care products. The company’s products are manufactured in more than two dozen countries and sold in more than 100 countries. Clorox is committed to making a positive difference in the communities where its employees work and live. Founded in 1980, The Clorox Company Foundation has awarded cash grants totaling more than $77 million to nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges. In fiscal 2009 alone, the foundation awarded $3.6 million in cash grants, and Clorox made product donations valued at $7.8 million. For more information about Clorox, visit www.TheCloroxCompany.com.

Beat the heat. Host a “Bake and Take” bake sale.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:25 pm July 13, 2011

At Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, we’re all about helping supporters find ways to “Be a Good Cookie” – whether it’s hosting a bake sale, running a race, organizing a ladies’ night out, or giving your talents to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research. But summer time, with oppressive temperatures and unpredictable thunderstorms, can make planning an old-fashioned bake sale a little more challenging.

One way to beat the summer heat while continuing to raise funds is to host a pre-order “bake and take” bake sale. Here’s how:

Step 1 - Select a few of your favorite cookie recipes that taste delicious and travel well. One of our favorite bake and take treats are Prince Liam’s Peanut Butter Cookies. See below for the recipe!

Step 2 – Email friends, neighbors and family members nearby and offer to “bake and take” a batch of cookies to them one night for their dessert in exchange for a donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

Step 3 – Go to your grocery store and purchase everything you need for the cookies you plan to bake. While shopping, remember to purchase plenty of GladWare to securely transfer your baked treats to supporters! GladWare, made by our longtime supporters at The Glad Products Company, is a great way to deliver your treats.

Step 4 – Bake and Take! Simply spending one afternoon in the kitchen – far away from the HEAT of the outdoors – you can truly be a Good Cookie by showing your support of the cause while sharing your cookies with friends and family.

Prince Liam’s Peanut Butter Cookies*

Makes 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup natural style peanut butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

1.Place the shortening, both sugars, peanut butter, egg, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat on medium speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until well combined, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and beat on low speed until well combined, 1-2 minutes. Add the peanuts and beat 30 seconds longer.

2.Drop batter by tablespoons on the prepared cookie sheets, about 1 1/2-inches apart. Roll each tablespoon of batter into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the tines of a fork in sugar and press down a ball of batter, forming a crosshatch on top, into a 1 1/2-1 3/4-inch round.

3.Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, 12-14 minutes. Cool cookies on cookie sheet on a rack 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to the rack and cool completely.

* To find this and other bake-sale-perfect recipes, be sure to order Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s Best Bake Sale Cookbook by Gretchen Holt Witt, available for pre-order now and available in stores starting September 12, 2011.