They Brought Thousands of Cookies to Uvalde

A Facebook cookie group brought cookies and comfort to a Texas community reeling from a school shooting.

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Posted in , Jul 22, 2022

Volunteer, from left: Mike and Janet Treemarki; Judi Coulter-Salazar, Carlos Salazar.

The 103,000 members of the Wedding Cookie Table Facebook group form a supportive community. On any given day, you may encounter a member sharing a family cookie recipe, requesting tips for an upcoming wedding cookie table or showing off photos of a beautiful spread of goodies.

Laura Magone started the popular group in 2015 as a way to honor the Pittsburgh-area tradition of always having at least one cookie table at weddings and other meaningful events. Traditionally, friends and family prepare an assortment of ethnic and family-favorite cookies.

But in late June the members of the Facebook group turned their support to a very different community. Laura couldn’t stop thinking about the tragic May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead. “Every time one of these shootings happens, everybody says, ‘We’ll do something’ and then two weeks later, it’s forgotten,” she said.

Laura posted an announcement in the group, asking if there was anyone near Uvalde.  San Antonio-based Carlos Salazar and his wife,  Judi Coulter-Salazar (above right and far right), reached out. The couple drove to Uvalde to see if sending cookies was something the community might welcome. After speaking to staff members at the  Sacred Heart Church, it was clear that the community was open to  receiving the sweet treats.

Laura sprung into action. First, she organized two teams: one in Texas and one in Pittsburgh. They researched the town with the goal of “blanketing this community with love and cookies.” In the end, it was decided to host two main cookie tables on June 25 and 26—one at the Sacred Heart Church banquet hall, and one at the Uvalde Memorial Hospital. They’d also deliver large trays of cookies to several other places throughout town.

Laura invited interested members of the WCTC to commit to baking five dozen cookies and shipping them to Uvalde. Offers flowed in. Dozens of bakers—from coast to coast—got to work making chocolate clouds, butter balls, biscotti, and more.

The project grew from there.

To have an even greater impact, Laura then asked the community to purchase hundreds of other cookies, as well as Jellycat stuffed animals, and copies of Tear Soup (in Spanish and English), the best-selling book on dealing with grief. (Earlier this year the book had greatly comforted Laura after her brother died suddenly.) Linens, trays, flowers and other supplies for the cookie display tables were also needed

Mica and Molly’s, a boutique in Florida, donated the Jellycats at cost. Christy Fullwood, of Cookies & Candies by Christy, took members orders for 325 dozen cookies—all traditional regional cookies.  There were gobs, which are similar to Whoopie Pies; lady locks, a flaky tube with a cream filling, and buckeyes, peanut butter fudge balls, partially dipped in chocolate. Then she hopped in her car and drove them all the way from Pennsylvania to Texas.

Within 24 hours, most of the requests had been purchased. And then some.

Between June 25 and June 27 1,400 dozen cookies, 500 Jellycats and 150 copies of Tear Soup, as well as handwritten notes and cards, were delivered to the people of Uvalde.

In Texas, more than 100 volunteers gathered to help out, including teachers from Robb Elementary School, who helped tray and serve the treats.

“The people who came to accept our gifts moved us as they expressed how their spirits were lifted, how much love they felt,” said Laura.  “Some said they saw others smiling for the first time in a month. They were grinning to see so many cookies; so many cookies that were new and wonderful to them. Maybe cookies are the universal language. Who doesn’t like cookies?”
 

 

 

 

 

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