The McAndrew family couldn’t let its cookie fundraiser crumble this year.

To continue a tradition started eight years ago, the West Scranton residents switched their annual bake sale to a cookie chain this year. And as it has done in the past, the money raised will go to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, which benefits research into less-toxic drugs for children fighting the disease.

“This year of course we wanted to keep continuing our mission; we just had to figure out how to do it without having a big bake sale,” said Mark McAndrew, a Scranton city councilman and culinary arts teacher at the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County.

Because of concerns about having the bake sale during the coronavirus pandemic, the McAndrews went with the cookie chain format, which a 6-year-old brain cancer patient started last year, raising $17,000. In the chain, someone bakes or buys cookies, packs them up by the dozen or individually, and gives them to someone else along with a note encouraging the recipient to donate to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and continue the chain by doing the same. The McAndrews have templates for notes to include with the deliveries available as PDFs; to get a copy, email mcandrewcookiesforkidscancer@gmail.com.

The chain began in mid-November and runs through Tuesday, Dec. 15, and McAndrew said it already has generated a great response. Some people who can’t participate in the chain are just donating directly to the cause, which they can do online at https://my.beagood cookie.org/8thannual mcandrew or by mailing a check, cash or money order to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, Attn: Ann Dang, P.O. Box 882, Davidson, NC 28036.

The family’s effort began as a service project for McAndrew’s daughter, Markie, and has grown each year, bringing in upwards of $10,000 annually for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer with matching contributions from the OXO company.

“The older I get, the more people I know who are affected by cancer,” McAndrew said. “It’s horrible, and guess what it’s even more horrible? When it’s a child, because their fight is harder. … All of that combined inspires me to keep doing it.”

For the last two years, the McAndrews gave half of the total earnings to a local child fighting cancer and the other to the national organization. All of this year’s money will go to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, though, McAndrew said, because of the uncertainty about how much they would raise thanks to the new format and the pandemic.

To inspire people to participate, McAndrew has posted cookie recipes on the fundraiser’s Facebook page, including Chocolate Cherry Ricotta, Italian Anise and Italian Pepper varieties. The family also shares photos of people who have donated and added links to the chain.

And his family members aren’t the only ones involved. McAndrew makes the cookie fundraiser part of his curriculum, too.

“It’s wonderful because it inspires my students, because my students are heavily involved,” he said. “Not only (is it) my responsibility to teach them the culinary arts, but I also believe it’s also my responsibility to help them become civic-minded citizens.”

McAndrew knows a lot of people have relied on the bake sale in the past to get their treats for the holidays, and he stressed that he wants the public to understand they’re using a new format this year.

“We need the beautiful continued support we always get from our community — our very generous community — but we also need them to know we’re not having a bake sale this year,” McAndrew said. “We’re doing it differently.”

 

Join the cookie chain

  • What: Eighth annual McAndrew Family Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fundraiser
  • When: Through Tuesday, Dec. 15
  • How: Bake or buy cookies, package them individually or by the dozen, and donate them to anyone. Make sure to include a note encouraging the recipient to donate to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and continue the cookie chain.
  • Details: To donate money, visit https://my.beagoodcookie.org/8thannualmcandrew or mail contributions to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, Attn: Ann Dang, P.O. Box 882, Davidson, NC 28036.