Baking bright futures
Since October is National Cookie Month, there’s no better time to tell you about our friends at Cookie Cart.
General Mills is a proud supporter of this Minneapolis non-profit that provides teens with work, life and leadership skills by giving them hands-on experience in an urban bakery.
I have the privilege of serving on the board of this organization, founded in 1988 by Sister Jean Thuerauf. She wanted to give North Minneapolis’ youth a safe and engaging way to spend their time. She started by inviting teens into her kitchen for help with their schoolwork and to make cookies and soon realized she had a recipe for success with more teenagers than space in her tiny kitchen!
Today, Cookie Cart employs 140 youth ages 15-17 each year where they learn the ins and outs of the kitchen as well as customer service skills they take to Cookie Cart’s storefront and various community events throughout the year.
Hear from two of the teens, and the executive director of Cookie Cart, in this video.
General Mills has worked with Cookie Cart in many different facets, from helping to train and mentor young bakers to advising the organization on operations as well as its branding and marketing efforts.
One of our corporate chefs, Monica Coulter, even volunteered her “Summer Friday” afternoons, helping to train new decorators who needed to prepare for the upcoming holiday rush that calls for hundreds of hand-decorated, frosted sugar cookies.
Michael Braden, culinary manager of General Mills Convenience & Foodservice Culinary Center, also has assisted the organization in an advisory capacity to provide insight on operational challenges and provide guidance into the planning of their new facility.
Other culinary team members regularly conduct baking demonstrations for the teens and talk to them about careers in foodservice and the importance of a good education.
General Mills’ Good Works program, which provides marketing expertise and resources to nonprofit groups, also worked with Cookie Cart in 2012. The project helped Cookie Cart refine its brand positioning and develop a new brand identity that can be seen on the organization’s new website.
Cookie Cart just kicked off its “Jar of Opportunity” giving campaign that seeks to raise $25,000 by November 14.
Please consider making an online contribution to help Cookie Cart “fill its cookie jar” so it can continue its mission to bake bright futures for teens.