Cookies for a cause

OK, I promise that the 12 Days of Cookies will be over soon, but I just had to share the latest in the Cheryl’s Christmas Cookies saga. First, some background.

My friend Becky is involved with an organization called Prison Fellowship, which is a religious outreach to people in prison. Becky, her husband, and other volunteers in our area have forged relationships with many prisoners, and, for some of them, it’s hope-giving and life-changing to have someone “on the outside” who cares about their well-being.

So what does this have to do with cookies? Well, Becky’s husband, George, has put out a call for 35 dozen cookies for packaging and distribution to the prisoners this Christmas season. As you may expect, this was both hope-giving and life-changing for me!! Now I can bake for people who will (a) appreciate what I’ve done and (b) never have the opportunity to complain to me about the nuts vs. no nuts thing. Who knows, perhaps in prison cookies with nuts are not only tasty, but a rare, tradable commodity, something akin to cigarettes. Perhaps by baking, I’ll be giving some downtrodden, aspiring, incarcerated entrepreneur a leg up. One can only hope.

What I’ve enjoyed perhaps the most about the prison cookie connection is my daughter’s strange thrill about the possible criminal profiles of our anonymous cookie recipients. “Just think, Mom,” she said. “A murderer will be eating these cookies.” Not to burst her bubble, but I did point out that there aren’t just murderers in prison. There are drug dealers and petty thieves there too. Drug dealers and petty thieves who may receive a little baggie of cookies, see my specialty, and break down sobbing and thanking God because Grandma back home used to make those very same cookies, and this must be a sign from God spelling reform and restoration in a life that’s otherwise gone hopelessly wrong.

Then again, maybe cookies in prison are just like cookies at the Christmas table. Maybe in 2009 beggars too can be just as choosy as the rest of us, and they’ll throw the cookies back through the bars and into the distributor’s basket because they’ve got peanut butter or raspberry jelly or (heaven forbid) coconut in them. Still the way I look at it, no matter who you are or what your crime, you just can’t argue with free cookies. You’ll take ’em, you’ll eat ’em, and whether you like ’em or not, you’ll know that someone, somewhere, thought you were worth it.

With that, here’s a link to my recipe for Chocolate Penitentiary Pixies, courtesy of the lovely people at Land O Lakes. Enjoy!


  1. Cr@ig said,

    December 8, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Somehow I knew that was a picture of John Belushi as ‘Jake’ from the Blues Brothers!

    P.S. I think all of your cookies are wonderful.

    • scheirmad said,

      December 9, 2009 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks, Craig, for helping me to stop being insecure about yet one more thing!

  2. Peter said,

    December 9, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Thank you for ministering to the ‘least of these’ in prison. Many wouldn’t. Your cookie distribution is not alone …. see the linked article from Prison Fellowship in Australia.

    Keep baking, it is appreciated more than you may ever know.
    Bless you.

    • scheirmad said,

      December 9, 2009 at 12:57 pm

      Hello, Peter, and thank you for your message! It is amazing to me that (1) something as simple as cookies can make a difference, (2) that the Internet can link me to such a touching testimony on the other side of the world, and (3) this blog has yet one more Aussie connection!

      Thank you for your contributions to the efforts of Prison Fellowship, whatever they may be! I hope you have an absolutely peaceful, lovely celebration of Christmas this year!


  3. Lorraine said,

    December 10, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Wow-is God good to you or what? The undisputed “Cookie Queen” now has a reason, no it’s more than just a reason, now has a calling to make cookies for others. See there really is magic in the world. I’m sure the people who receive them will enjoy them. (I once did a parent/teacher/student conference in jail and the mum was so appreciative but what surprised me was that once the other women worked out why SHE had an extra visitor they were really supportive too. Even the guards had a kind word for me!)
    Your cookies will be a big hit. “Good-on-ya-mate!”

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