Cookie Challenge Brings Charities Some Dough

Cookie Challenge Brings Charities Some Dough

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 1/5/2011)

On Dec. 11, 2010 Downtown Ferndale was full of fun winter festivities for the annual Ice Festival.  Businesses were decorated with holiday glitz and glam, accentuated with spectacular ice carvings in front of many local shops.  Families enjoyed meeting Santa and his reindeer, ice skating in the Library parking lot, festive music, crafts and holiday sales.  But one profitable tradition associated with Ice Festival is the Warm-Hearted Cookie Challenge – a friendly competition that pairs local businesses with nonprofit groups to see who can sell the most cookies, and make the most money for the charities involved.

The event began four years ago when Veronica Lujic of State of the Art came up with the idea to sell cookies at stores on the day of the Ice Festival.  Three years ago Sharon Chess, who is on the Promotions Committee for the Downtown Development Authority and co-owner of Chess Roofing and Siding, took over the event and expanded it to include multiple stores and charities.  It’s a simple idea.  A charity and a store team up to make cookies, and volunteers hawk the cookies at the store the day of the festival.  They receive donations and reward donors with a tasty treat.  Whoever raises the most money wins.

The results of the competition were announced this week, and the winner will receive a bonus.  Chess Roofing and Siding is donating an additional $200 prize to the winning group, which will be presented at the Jan. 10, 2011 City Council meeting. This year the honor goes to Dianne & Lloyd Smith of David Michael Smith Memorial Fund.

The Smith family partnered with Ferndale Youth Assistance and The Candlewick Shop to raise money for the fund, which provides scholarships for Ferndale students based on volunteering.  The couple’s son David Michael Smith was just 16 years old when he was killed by an Amtrack Train on June 29, 2006. “David and his friends went to 7-11 and had to cross the tracks at Saratoga and Hilton,” said his mother Dianna Smith. “One of the boys took a quarter from his pocket and said he should put this on the tracks. David took the quarter from his hand and ran back across the tracks to put the quarter on the tracks and jumped off.  Somehow he was pulled back into the side of the train.”

Dianna and her husband Lloyd want to make sure that her son’s death isn’t forgotten, and that children learn the importance of being careful around train tracks.  “They need to know the dangers and stay far away from moving trains,” she said.

Since David’s death, the Smith family does fund raisers to help support the Ferndale Youth Assistance program.  They also provide a $500.00 Scholarship to a Graduating Senior that has been chosen as the Volunteer of the year.  In 2010, they were able to give two awards.  Miranda Zoppi from Oak Park and Stephen Stocker from Ferndale were each given a $500 scholarship for overcoming adversities and giving back to the community.  (For previous story see –

This is the third year that Dianne & Lloyd Smith partnered with the Candle Wick Shop, and they were able to raise $  324.34.

“I was paired with them 3 ice fests ago and we all immediately bonded,” said Candle Wick Shop owner Jacki Smith.   “Actually it was Diana and her involvement in the FYA that convinced me that Ferndale was the place to move to and send my daughter to school. I love that the DMS fund works with all kids to give them an opportunity to experience new things.

‘We had Peanut Butter Cookies and we always sell out – Part of why we always run out is that Diana give all the kids cookies no matter if they donate or not – she really is one of the sweetest people I know.

The Ice fest is the biggest day of the year for the Candle Wick Shop, and the day we all have the most fun. We hit the streets with coupons for a free votive with every cookie you buy (or everyone who walks in with a coupon). This year we had Mayor Covey working the last shift of the cookie table. We were on the last of the cookies, but what a trooper, he sold them all.”

Good Neighbor’s Garden partnered with Pinwheel Bakery and came in a comfortable second.  “We’ve partnered with Good Neighbors all three years,” says Ann St. Peter, owner of Pinwheel Bakery.  “The whole day is good for business, as a tie in with everything else I think it works really good.  In years past we tried to tie in herbal flavors with our cookies so it has an earthy kind of theme to go along with gardening.”  This year though, they went with double-chocolate peppermint, and came in second, raising $230.69 for their charity.

Citizens for Fair Ferndale Partnered with Club Bart’s and came in third, just above  Michigan Aids Coalition who partnered with Megan Mitchell’s Hair Salon. Several other groups and businesses participated as well, including The Ferndale Community Foundation, Peace Action of Michigan, and The Sierra Club.

To participate in next year’s Warm-Hearted Cookie Challenge, keep in touch with the DDA (Downtown Development Authority) at

If you want to read about the 2009 Cookie Challenge, download a complete copy of our Dec 15, 2009 issue at –  (Online story not available at this time).

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