Each year around this time our mail boxes and our inboxes are inundated with requests for help and financial support from almost every nonprofit organization under the sun. While most, if not all, are very worthy causes, it can still be a bit daunting! This year, perhaps more than ever, the needs of our communities are great while our resources are dwindling. With unemplyment at over 10% and the real estate market in a freefall, writing a few checks to our favorite charities is simply not an option for many of us right now. But there are still lots of small ways that we can make a difference, some of which can be very rewarding. What we may not be able to give in dollars, we most likely can give in time. Volunteering at a local charity during the Holidays is a always a great way to support our community and make the lives of those less fortunate a little bit brighter. Hosting a Drop In & Decorate  Party is a sweet way to pay it forward and have a swell time doing it.
The concept is simple. Bake cookies. Gather a group of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, your worship group or book club to decorate the cookies together. Then, donate the cookies to a nonprofit agency serving basic human needs in your own community, such as a food pantry, senior center or church group. It’s a great way to spend some quality time with people you care about and give a little back to our community as well. It’s also great way to introduce your kids to community service. What kid doesn’t love to decorate cookies?
Drop In & Decorate  was founded in 2002 by our own Lydia Walshin of The Perfect Pantry . In 2008, it was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Its mission to is to make cookies-for-donation events easy and affordable (and fun) for anyone, and to provide whatever support possible (tech support, baking/decorating supplies, financial support) to encourage people to organize cookie donations in their own communities.
Since its inception, Drop In & Decorate events have donated cookies to 55 nonprofit agencies in 18 states and Canada. The recipient agencies include Ronald McDonald Houses, food pantries, domestic violence and family emergency shelters, senior centers, and other agencies serving children and families.
This year, Drop In & Decorate is aiming for participation in all 50 states, Canada and beyond. To help get things started, Pillsbury  has donated 50 VIP coupons, worth $3.00 each, off any Pillsbury product — including sugar cookie mix and icing — to be distributed, first come, first served, while supply lasts, to anyone who plans to host a Drop In & Decorate event (max. 5 coupons per person). And they’re also including a Comfort Grip cookie cutter, donated by Wilton , to people who plan to host cookies-for-donation events. There’s also a free downloadable guide  with everything you need to know to host your own party, available on the DI&D web site.
It’s a simple idea in a complicated world, and something anyone can do! If you’d like more information, you can visit the web site or contact Lydia directly at lydiaATdropinanddecorateDOTorg.
Oh, and by the way, December 4th is National Cookie Day. What are you waiting for? 😉