By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Emily Hayes, a sixth grader at Delano Middle School, has been doing charity work since she was in kindergarten, but recently, she took her generosity to a tasty new level by creating “Cookies for a Cure.”
“Each year, I raise $100 for the American Cancer Society,” Emily said. “Normally, I would sell luminaries, but that kind of gets old, so I decided to do something different.”
“She loves to bake and thought she could help others out with their holiday baking while making money for the relay,” said Emily’s mother, Ann. “It has been an overwhelming response.”
Before Christmas, Emily and her family baked, sold, and delivered 144 dozen (1,728) cookies in six different varieties.
They charged $5 per dozen, raising more than $700 to benefit cancer patients.
“Emily made up a flier and distributed it to friends, family, and folks around town via Facebook, e-mail, and word of mouth,” Ann said.
Many orders came from people the Hayes don’t even know, Ann said, adding that some of the cookies also went to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I’d just like to thank everyone who bought from me,” Emily said.
Ann said that Emily did a lot of work to make the fundraiser a success, and even donated some of her own money for supplies.
Walmart also donated some of the ingredients. Brad Voth, the general manager, introduced Emily to his staff.
“They gave her a big round of applause. Boy, did she get embarrassed then,” Ann said.
The cookies were made over the course of a couple weeks.
Ann and Emily, along with Emily’s dad, Mark, sister, Abby, and grandma, Laura Jones of Annandale, spent many hours in the kitchen.
Emily’s 7-year-old sister, Abby, helped make the fudge. Emily’s 11-month-old brother, Levi, did his best to help, too.
“My little brother ate the broken ones,” Emily said. “He’s too little to make anything.”
Emily and her family made peanut blossoms, sugar cookies, toffee, fudge, ice box cookies, and chocolate reindeer.
“We made a list of the kinds we like to make and picked out six,” she said.
The chocolate reindeer are made with unsweetened chocolate and cut with a reindeer-shaped cookie cutter.
“That’s just kind of a family recipe,” Emily said.
Emily’s ice box cookies were flavored with almond extract.
After the cookies were made, the Hayes packaged and delivered them.
Ann said their house looked like a “cookie factory,” but it was well worth it.
“We are having such a great time doing this, and, heck, we are raising money at the same time,” she said.
Emily has always enjoyed baking, so this fundraiser was a perfect fit.
“I like to make cakes and cookies and bars,” she said.
“We have a little bit of a sweet tooth in our family,” Ann added.
Even after making so many cookies, Emily said she didn’t get tired of baking.
“I’m not really sick of making them, but I am a little sick of eating them,” she said.
“Emily is already thinking about how to do it next year,” Ann said.