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Many hands, many cookies

Goodies galore for a good cause

Created date

September 24th, 2013

If you happen to stroll by Tallgrass Creek's Resident Life office on the 15th of any month, you may get a hankering for a freshly baked cookie. That's because the office will be filled with homemade, aromatic cookies that many of the Erickson Living community's residents have just made from their own mouthwatering recipes. But not for long. The yummy delights are only in a brief holding pattern waiting to be picked up by Marcia Merrick, a well-known volunteer who provides 400 lunches daily to the homeless in the Kansas City area. Merrick began providing the healthy sack lunches years ago and has since inspired others to help. Her efforts have been spotlighted locally, as well as in People magazine and The Huffington Post, among other publications. "Marcia is an amazing woman with a passion for helping the homeless and disadvantaged," says resident Bunny Brown, co-chairperson of the HUGS committee, which oversees the community's charitable efforts, including the cookie donations. "She has always included a couple of homemade cookies in each lunch and for some time made all 800 cookies each day by herself. We stepped in to give her a little help."

Cookies, cookies, and more cookies

When Tallgrass Creek residents first began helping out in 2010, each baker supplied two-dozen homemade cookies a month for a total of 624 cookies. Then, 26 bakers joined in. "We had more and more people who wanted to get involved," says resident Fran Wolfe, who also co-chairs HUGS. "Before we knew it, we were baking about 1,600 cookies a month." And it didn't stop there. Today, 51 Tallgrass Creek bakers provide about 2,000 cookies a month to Merrick's program. "We have residents who donate anywhere from two dozen to many dozens of cookies a month," says Fran. After baking, residents package their cookies two to a baggie, so Merrick can easily drop them into sack lunches. Then they're dropped off at the Resident Life office where Fran and Bunny box them for easy transport. The array of different cookies is astounding and always includes Bunny's snickerdoodles and Fran's molasses cookies. Many residents use family recipes for chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal-raisin, sugar, or other homemade cookies that have been handed down through the years.

Sweet treats, sweet hearts

"Marcia tells us the folks she's helping are always excited when our cookies will be in the lunches," says Bunny. "They should be. We have some incredible bakers here, including a few men." Residents also donate socks, men's shoes, clothing, toiletries, and more to Merrick's volunteer efforts for the homeless. Fran and Bunny say they expect the number of homemade cookies to continue growing. "People here are very generous and want to help," says Fran. "But the cookies, in particular, are near and dear to all our hearts." As for Merrick? She continues to be grateful for the support she receives from Tallgrass Creek bakers. "It's such a blessing," she says. "These are special people with beautiful hearts."