Gingerbread men, pumpkin spiced cookies, toffee bars -- there seemed to be something to satisfy the sweet tooth of even the most finicky of confection connoisseurs during the annual "Cookies 'Buy' the Pound" event at Our Lady of the Angles Catholic Church in Kenai on Saturday.
"It's been going for about 16 years now," said church member Nora Satathite, who herself purchased several Styrofoam boxes of cookies.
According to Satathite, the original idea for the event came from a former parishioner who now resides in Iowa, but the event has continued even after her departure to the Lower 48.
The event consists of two long tables, each filled with thousands of sweets.
"Everything is homemade and all baked by parishioners," Satathite said "People typically bring in their family's favorite cookies, or fudge or candy."
Then, people come in, pick up a Styrofoam box and fill it with whichever, and as many confections as they desire.
"You can pick whatever you want," Satathite said. "Then the kids weigh them and you pay $7 per pound."
The event is a yearly fundraiser for the church, with the proceeds used to support the church's youth mission program. This year the cookie sale was also joined by the Fair Trade Festival, a sale of handcrafts made by disadvantaged artisans from underdeveloped regions of the world.
"Last year the money raised went to sending the kids to Marshall, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim area," Satathite said. "It helps prepare the kids there for communion, and our kids learn a lot about village life while there, so it's a good experience for all the kids."
More than 50 families take part in baking cookies for the event, many making several dozens to donate.
"It's a labor of love," said church member Margaret Simon. "I do something every year. I have cooking parties, where I bake them ahead of time and then we decorate them together. This year we did 200."
Church member Terri Wisniewski said the cookie sale has become quite popular over the years.
"We'll get people here right at 10 a.m. when it opens," she said. "And usually by around 11:30 we're done, but whatever we don't sell, parishioners on Sunday will come by and buy the rest."
While not a member of the church, Susan Haman of Kenai stopped in on Saturday to purchase cookies for her family to enjoy during the holiday season.
"I've always read about it in the paper and wanted to come, and I finally remembered it was today," she said. "It's a beautiful selection of cookies."
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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