Cookies conjure crowds

Published 11:31 am Sunday, December 12, 2010

Contributing Editor

The hundreds of cookies, other baked goods and containers of cheese straws were perfectly displayed shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday for the sixth-annual Holiday Cookie Express at First Christian Church in Washington. What a wonderful scene they made.
That perfection disappeared with seconds of the doors opening and the crowd emptying trays and platters of goodies, placing them into boxes. The going price for the cookies and other baked goods going into those boxes was $7 a pound.
For several years, there word has been out: line up early — before the doors open at 9 a.m. — for the Holiday Cookie Express or risk facing slim pickings.
Before the doors open to the public, about 40 volunteers from the church prepare for the event, from setting up tables to placing trays and platters of goodies on those tables and forming the boxes into which the goodies are placed by patrons.
“It’s a whole church project,” said Margaret Ann Woolard, one of the chief cookie coordinators.
“Without the help of everyone in the church, it would not be possible,” Woolard said.
There’s no doubt the event is popular with the public, she said.
“It gets bigger and better every year,”
The money raised by the Holiday Cookie Express goes to the church’s in-house projects and community projects, she said. Last year, the event raised a little more than $7,000.
Asked if there’s a favorite item among customers, Woolard pondered for several moments, then she replied: “Cheese straws.”
“They go first,” said Jane Alligood, another volunteer.
Later Saturday, the Lunch Express Cafe opened to serve homemade soups — vegetable beef, cream of chicken and taco — and homemade sandwiches — chicken salad and pimento cheese.