by Catholic News Service
FOLEY, Minn. (CNS) — For more than 20 years, St. John’s Area Catholic School in Foley has carried on the tradition of baking, packaging and selling homemade Christmas treats each December.
Using ingredients that include 179 pounds of butter, 70 pounds of chocolate chips and 96 pounds of peanut butter, a group of between 75 and 100 volunteers bakes 3,000 dozen confections in one week.
That’s about 36,000 cookies and candies, ranging from peanut butter blossoms to fudge with or without nuts to traditional cutout cookies, date balls, tea cakes and more.
One of the best parts besides the heavenly smell, said Christine Friederichs, the school’s principal, is the sense of community it creates from start to finish.
“Everyone gets involved, from our families to our staff, to our students and past students, to their families and beyond,” she told The Visitor, newspaper of the Diocese of St. Cloud. “Students from years ago wait for this time of year to be able to come back and help during this week because they remember doing it when they were a student here. It’s tradition.”
During baking week, students in grades five and six go to the lunchroom, which doubles as Santa’s bakeshop, for an hour on each of two days. Bakers and packaging volunteers work shifts between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They don’t bake on Wednesday because of scheduled religious education programs.
This year the goodies were distributed Dec. 3 — and even more people were on hand to help.
The cookie and candy undertaking is one of three fundraisers the school does each year, and it raises about $10,000 toward its annual operating budget.