Huntingdon Area Education Association member Jeremy Uhrich is amazed how a cookie-baking contest between two friends has evolved into a national movement to bake and deliver thousands of cookies each week for essential workers in 29 states and 72 communities.
Last March, Uhrich, who teaches English at Huntingdon Area Junior High School, and his friend Scott McKenzie, a professor at nearby Juniata College, challenged each other to a cookie-baking contest. The contest morphed into baking and delivering cookies for essential workers in their community.
With the theme, “Bake the World A Better Place,” the Cookies for Caregivers program has evolved into a movement across the country. The Huntingdon Chapter of Cookies for Caregivers has more than 100 community volunteers who have baked more than 22,000 cookies.
Uhrich and McKenzie, who have been nicknamed “The Cookie Guys,” collect and coordinate the delivery of the cookies to firehouses, hospitals, grocery stores, and other essential workers and businesses in their community of Huntingdon.
Within a few weeks of putting up their Facebook page, Uhrich says they began getting inquiries from people around the country. Uhrich and McKenzie now offer Zoom live sessions to help others start their Cookies for Caregivers programs.
The Cookies for Caregivers program is so popular that it has been featured on “The Today Show,” CBS, and “Rachael Ray” and in print stories in The Washington Post, CNN, and People magazine.
“It has been 44 weeks, and it has been a crazy fun ride,” Uhrich said. “It has been a great campaign for our community and for others around the country. In addition to bringing a smile to the face of those out on the front lines, it also shows our students and my children the importance of getting involved with the community.”
Uhrich said that people are drawn to the project as a way to show their appreciation for those who are on the front lines during the pandemic. He says the project has also been a great life lesson for his own children and his students.
“This is another opportunity for me to be a mentor and role model for my children and students. I want to teach them the importance of being a good citizen and good human being,” Uhrich said. “Our mission is to spread kindness and appreciation. These are important lessons that every child can learn.”
Search for the “Cookies for Caregivers” public group on Facebook to find out more.