Cookies for a Good Cause
By Justin Wang
Who knew teenagers can be so hyped about baking cookies?
Lo and behold, more than 30 GLIFY members gathered during this Thanksgiving break to bake cookies. They made and sold about 2,000 cookies, raising more than $1,500. The money went directly towards helping Paradise High School, where 90 percent of its students and staff lost their homes in the recent wildfires.
This activity started six years ago, when GLIFY officer Allison Dai (class of 2015) thought of the idea of a cookie fundraiser to raise money for charitable causes that we supported. She and fellow members tried numerous recipes and decided on two classic flavors — chocolate chip and snickerdoodle. The sale turned out to be a great success.
Since then, this fundraiser has become an annual tradition. The two flavors stayed the same, but over the years, we gradually improved our methods, techniques and even the advertising.
Jessica Phongsa designed the flyer. It not only showed all the sale information at a quick glance, but also demonstrated the enthusiasm of the volunteers.
Volunteers worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m in three shifts. Many jobs needed to be done. The process started with dough mixing, where two stations made chocolate chip cookie dough, and the third made snickerdoodle dough. This year, we upped our consistency in this step. Instead of eyeballing the volume of ingredients, we standardized all of the measurements by weight. Everything was weighed down to the gram so that we could achieve a consistent quality.
My brother and I are usually pretty useless in the kitchen. But with an attentive ear and a knowledgeable teacher, we quickly became proficient at mixing.
That teacher was Emily Hou. She started baking in third grade and now can make a wide variety of desserts of professional quality. Once she trained her mixing team, she went around the kitchen helping others, She adjusted the order in which ingredients went in and explained why.
Edwin Li was one of the youngest volunteers, but he was no less responsible or hardworking. He took extra care to measure the ingredients accurately.
After we made the dough, the next step was scooping. We doubled the number of available scales, so everyone could be their own quality control supervisor. In the past, dough scooping was a bottleneck, but the additional scales alleviated it.
A couple parents tirelessly baked all of the cookies. Every few minutes, you could hear them yell, “Watch out! Hot cookies coming through!” as yet another batch of cookies were baked and transported to cool. My home had two ovens that churned out cookies faster than you could eat them. Nobody stole any in reality, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some were guilty of that thought. I had sent our dog to a friend’s house, since I knew that he would want to sneak some of our cookies for sure.
So many people from earlier shifts stayed extra that there was very little work for the last shift! They complained that they became jobless. What a good problem to have!
After cookies were made, it was time to clean up. Roy Lin led this task. Since he hosted the cookie fundraiser last year at his home, he knew the importance of the seemingly unexciting chores such as putting things away, washing, wiping and mopping. Alisia Zhou took on the job of vacuuming the whole work area. We really appreciated how meticulous she was.
Six boxes of our cookies, along with the money we raised after a day’s hard work, went to Paradise High School. It felt good that we could help students just like us.
Don’t feel guilty about your sweet tooth, because it’s all for a good cause!