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Duncan woman has made baking cookies for the less-fortunate her Christmas mission

For Stacy Middlemiss, Caring with Cookies has become a holiday tradition for herself and her team of volunteers. - courtesy Stacy Middlemiss
For Stacy Middlemiss, Caring with Cookies has become a holiday tradition for herself and her team of volunteers.
— image credit: courtesy Stacy Middlemiss

For Stacy Middlemiss, one bite into a home-made Christmas cookie brings back a thousand memories.

And that's partly why the Duncan resident created a Christmas cookie donation drive she calls Caring with Cookies in 2008.

For Middlemiss, it's become a holiday tradition for her and volunteer helpers, stemming from old family traditions.

"I've always had the urge to help those less fortunate and felt like Christmas had become such a chore," Middlemiss explained. "I felt like I needed to do something to help me get back to the meaning of Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I know that my cookies aren't going to change anyone's life. I guess I just wanted the people who receive these cookies to know even though they're struggling in life, someone is thinking about them."

Middlemiss was living in Victoria when she started Caring with Cookies with the help from her friends and family.

"Those first years I packaged all of the cookies on my own, tying each bag closed with a nice piece of curled ribbon. It was quite a feat for me," she said. "Now, it would probably take me a week to do it alone.  My husband Jeff and eight-year-old step-daughter Dailynn as well as my in-laws Kevin and Susan, sister-in-law Kelly and her daughter Annika have been huge helpers the past three years and it has become a tradition for us."

This is Middlemiss' sixth year running the campaign. It has been centred in Duncan now for three years, but helps the less fortunate in Victoria as well. Cookies are donated to Duncan's Warmland House as well as Cool Aid Society shelters and Our Place in Victoria.

Last year 80 packages of 480 scrumptious cookies went to Cowichan's shelter.

"This year I'm hoping the same 80 will go to the people that have Christmas dinner there, as well as an additional 45 for the people actually living there," Middlemiss explained. "Every year I drop the cookies off at each location and am welcomed with big smiles but I leave the cookie delivering to the discretion of the individual shelters."

This year, Middlemiss and her husband will also be delivering cookies on the streets at 5 a.m. on Christmas Eve along side Victoria's Rev. Al Tysick of the Dandelion Society.

Middlemiss runs a small catering business creating pre-made meals called Social Flare Catering. She's also been baking alongside her mom and grandmothers, especially around the holidays, since she can remember.

"There's also something to be said about homemade cookies, having grown up around a lot of traditional Christmas baking," she said. "These people didn't ask for their life to turn out the way it did; many of them struggle with addiction or are the product of some kind of abuse. It's the least I can do to give them each a package of cookies at Christmas."

Middlemiss often finds herself gobsmacked by folk's generosity.

"People were contacting me in October asking if I was doing my cookies again this year. My idea has become a Christmas tradition in people's homes and that's amazing.

"I shed a tear or two pretty much weekly because I receive a touching email or message, or get asked if the local paper can do an article on my cause. It just amazes me what you can do if you put in the effort."

Cookies can be dropped off at the following locations now until Dec. 22, Middlemiss Farms at 3560 Glenora Road, Cowichan Sound & Cellular's Duncan and Mill Bay locations, the Footwear Centre in Lake Cowichan and for anyone based out of Ladysmith at Palmer Leslie Chartered Accountants.

Middlemiss asks people to cookies in a container they don't want back or a Ziploc bag with their name and approximate number of cookies listed.

And if folk's aren't bakers, they can also help Middlemiss spread the word to friends and family.

"Every year I'm looking for additional places to donate," she said. "There are some places I absolutely dedicate to donating cookies but many that I 'hope' to deliver to depending on the amount of cookies I receive."

To learn more about the cause, visit Middlemiss' Facebook page here.

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