Saturday, April 30, 2011

Half Baked

My husband doesn’t like it when I sell things on the street. Now I have my daughters doing it, too. Today it’s cookies, last time it was cupcakes and brownies. It’s always for a good cause – political campaign, puppy rescues, or like today’s sale, it’s to raise money for a camp for kids with sickle cell disease.

There is something about a bake sale that is in some ways far more effect in getting people out to support a cause. Unlike a dinner dance, pancake breakfast or wine tasting – all of which I have been involved in organizing – there is something so simple about a bake sale. It is a low cost, easy way to contribute. It doesn’t require any long term commitment on the part of the person making the donation. And besides, who can resist a cookie?

A friend of mine who donated twenty but declined to take the twenty cookies because she said she didn’t need an excuse to eat a plate on her own, told me she liked that my girls and I did cooking fundraisers together. I confessed to the reason behind it – I love to bake. Second only to writing, it is my favorite thing to do. If someone would actually pay me for my baked goods in the retail world, I would jump at the chance to make it a second act profession some day. I also want my girls to know what it feels like to help others, to raise money and turn it over to a charity, to recognize that no matter what we might be going through ourselves, that there is always someone else worse off and in need of our efforts. My mother used to always say to me, “Whenever you’re feeling bad, find someone who’s feeling worse and do something for them. You’ll find that it’s the best way to make yourself feel better.” Lastly, it is an easy ask of friends, neighbors and family – come by, eat a cookie, help someone.

We did a benefit bake a few years ago where the girls raised over $300 in less than two hours. Thanks to the beauty of email and forwarding, people we didn’t know, who were friends of friends, showed up to participate. David refused to be involved, citing his objection to my selling things on the street habit. At one point, we had about twenty or more people milling in front of the house eating baked goods and contributing for the cause. David was finally forced to come out of the house where he’d been hiding for the duration of the sale, hoping that the neighbors didn’t call to complain. Thing was, most of the neighbors were now out in front. When he finally came out, I overheard him chatting with a neighbor, who assumed he’d been part of the fundraising effort. When he didn’t deny it, I had him, and he was forced to help with clean up.

Today we’re adding milk to the occasion. And at $1 a cup, that’s extra money for the camp. Besides, what goes better with cookies than milk?

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