Cookies for Kindness

When she agreed to decorate a few dozen gingerbread cookies with her friend five years ago, cooking teacher and food blogger Lydia Walshin had no idea that she was starting a campaign. The cookies came out well, and Lydia called a local shelter that catered to families in need to ask if it would like the cookies. She wasn’t expecting the reception they got.

“When we delivered the cookies, we saw the smiles on the faces of the shelter staff, and heard the gasps (‘We had no idea your cookies would look like this! ...’). I imagined how the children’s faces would light up when they saw our cookie creations,” she writes. Thus the Drop In & Decorate Cookies for Donation campaign was born.

Each year since then, Lydia—who writes the food blog the Perfect Pantry—has organized a cookie-decorating party, with the results being given to local family shelters or food banks. This year, with the help of 60 friends, she will donate about 750 cookies to more than 400 families in the Rhode Island area.

Now, the Drop In & Decorate campaign is going national. Lydia has asked fellow food bloggers to help spread the word, and has partnered with the King Arthur Flour company, which put together a Drop In & Decorate baking kit containing all you need to host your own party (Lydia does not receive any profit from sales of the kit). She also has created a play-by-play guide that covers how to host your own party, including recipes for cookies and extrahard icing that won’t smear when packaged.

With all the cookies that are to be made and eaten in the coming holiday season, it’s nice to know that some are going to a good place (as opposed to, ahem, my waistline).