Each month, we are going to be featuring a“Good Cookie of the Month”. We will ask for nominations on Facebook and do a monthly blog post featuring the winning bake sale host. We wanted to kick off our new blog series by telling you about Trisha Shepard – Good Cookie bake sale host from Austin, TX.
(Trisha is third from the left. Laura is to her left.)
Trisha was the host of the Austin, TX Girls Night Out on September 7, as well as the Austin Family Festival and city wide bake sale. Not only was the event a huge success, she coordinated volunteers to bake and package cookies despite the wildfires and promoted the events.
She heard about Cookies’ and Liam’s story through her sister-in-law, Jennifer, who lives in Richmond, VA. When Liam lost his battle Trisha had been following the Cookies’ story for a while and she felt like she needed to be doing something to make a difference. She knew she needed to become a part of the “Good Cookie” community when she heard there wasn’t enough funding to carry out potentially life saving studies for kid’s cancer. For Trisha, feeling grateful for her own blessings was not enough. At the very least she wanted to host a bake sale, but she ended up doing so much more.
Jennifer asked if Trisha would be interested in a 7,000-cookie donation. Trisha didn’t know exactly how to sell that many cookies, but she wanted to be a part of it. Trisha knew if Liam could battle cancer for 4 years and if Gretchen could fight right along with him, she couldn’t even think twice about the amount of work that would go into such an event. She wanted to prevent the outcome for another child and honor Liam and his impact on the world.
Trisha and her sister-in-law knew they wanted to raise awareness and funds. They also wanted to capture what Cookies’ is all about by holding bake sales. Trisha realized she could do more than just any ordinary bake sale. She realized that every women must have a regular girls night out, right?! Trisha decided to take advantage of that and spruce it up. She tied her two ideas together; she asked people to spend their GNO honoring Cookies’, the families battling pediatric cancer, and raising funds for research. They knew if they offered the same staples of a regular GNO it would be a huge success, and it was!
They also created a family oriented event with the same mission. They wanted to create an event where people would make an effort to bring their families in the midst of a busy week. And most importantly Trisha wanted the event to help people remember Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.
Trisha asked people she knew and even some that she didn’t to join in. She eventually gathered a committee of 5 moms who were committed to raising awareness and funds for Cookies’. She posted a call for volunteers on their local People Against Cancer board. Another woman who had been following Liam’s story, Laura McDonough, also contacted Trisha to get involved. Laura became Trisha’s wing woman and it wouldn’t have been a success without her.
It wasn’t an easy breezy path along the way to the big event. The evening before their big baking and packaging day, the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant was being evacuated due to wildfires! The road to the restaurant where they would be baking and packaging was shutdown. But nonetheless the cookies were baked and packaged because volunteers found a way to make it happen.
The GNO ended up being a HUGE success. 96 women attended—all anxious to bid on some of the silent auction packages that were donated by dozens of local businesses. And most of all, they were excited to learn more about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. The family festival and the city wide bake sale were also a success despite competition from other fundraisers that sprung up due to the wildfire damage. All in all these Austin events raised over $25,000!
The takeaway message: anyone can create a big event. Trisha had no idea how she would fit all the planning into her already busy life, but she made it her mission. Make a plan, ask some friends to get on board with you, and it will happen. Thank you Trisha for showing us what can happen when a few passionate moms come together for a great cause!