Naia Heron and Myla Glaser may not be the most experienced bakers in La Plata County, but in the past year, the 13-year-old friends have spent plenty of kitchen time nurturing their love for baking.
This summer when they were making quilts at Durango Arts Center for homeless residents, Myla suggested that Naia and she should hold “a bakeathon.”
From there, the idea of holding baking sessions to help residents at the Durango Community Shelter grew.
On Tuesday, the eighth graders at Mountain Middle School made 18 “Care Packages” for shelter residents.
“Naia and I have to bake, and we thought this would be a way to bring some holiday cheer to people who would appreciate it,” Myla said.
Besides chocolate chip, peanut butter, peppermint bark, lemon and gingerbread cookies, Naia and Myla included gloves, hats, socks and clothing they purchased with $300 raised on their GoFundMe page, From Wishes to Kisses – Homeless Support.
They also set up their own website, Fall Wishes and Winter Kisses.
City Market heard about the effort and chipped in with a $25 gift card that helped with baking supplies.
The duo have been baking all week, finishing with an eight-hour session Tuesday. Delivery of the care packages was planned for Wednesday or Thursday.
Any cook will tell you things don’t always go as planned once the mixer starts churning, but like experienced hands, the pair persevered when they ran out of eggs making peanut butter cookies – Myla discovered a quarter cup of plain yogurt serves just fine as an egg replacement.
Keeping family members away from the cookies proved to be the hardest part of assembling of the packages, Myla said.
Recipes were selected to provide a wide variety of choices and with a thought to dietary needs.
The gingerbread cookies are gluten free; the lemon cookies are nut free.
“We wanted to make sure if someone was allergic, they had plenty of backups,” Naia said.
The project has gone so well, Naia and Myla are thinking about making the project a reoccurring effort.