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Holiday Cookie Contest raises more than $350 for County Food Bank
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Food Bank of Barton County manager Jennie (center) holds cash that was donated during the 7th Annual Great Bend Holiday Cookie Contest, which was held on Nov. 28. Pictured left to right are Anna Hammond-Bodine, Cookie Contest organizer and Rosewood representative; Bob, Food Bank Board co-chair; Jennie, Food Bank manager; Melonie Myers, Rosewood representative; Linda, Food Bank volunteer; Christina Hayes, Great Bend community coordinator; Donna, Food Bank volunteer; Evelyn, Food Bank Board co-chair; and Kim, Food Bank volunteer. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Icy weather hampered involvement in the 7th Annual Great Bend Holiday Cookie Contest, held Nov. 28. Still, the annual sweet-treat contest went on as scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during Small Business Saturday in downtown Great Bend. Rosewood Furniture Gallery supplied participants with decorative boxes, a list of cookie contest businesses and a voting bracelet.
More than 30 people braved the frigid temperatures and icy roads and sidewalks to give donations and take on the challenge of selecting the best holiday cookie in Great Bend. Their committed effort, along with an additional $200 in donations, raised a total of $360, which was donated to the Food Bank of Barton County on Dec. 16.
Rosewood Wine Cellar, with cookies made by Cheryl Beckwith and Melonie Myers, won the “Best Cookie” award, unseating three-time winner Kustom Floor Designs. Great Bend’s community coordinator Christina Hayes served as the official vote counter of the contest, a role she has performed for the past four years.
 As part of the festivities, 16 participating businesses also donated prizes that went to cookie contest participants during a drawing that took place the Monday following the contest.
Businesses participating in this year’s Great Bend Holliday Cookie Contest were Rosewood Furniture Gallery (Cookie Headquarters), A440 Musical Instruments, Brown’s Shoe Fit Co., Buckle, Beautiful Beginnings Boutique, Cornerstone Interiors, Defy Expectation Clothing Company, E&E Glass, Great Bend Coffee, Kustom Floor Designs, Northview Nursery, Office Products Inc., Perks Coffee Shoppe, Rana Luna Boutique, Renue Salon and Spa/ Yours Truly LLC, Rosewood Wine Cellar.
“Cash helps fill the void to purchase what is needed at the moment,” said Bob, a Food Bank Board co-chairman. “The donation comes at a good time, as we near the end of December and gear up for January, which is usually our busiest month of the year.”
The Food Bank operates under the auspices of the Barton County Association of Churches and is organized to distribute food to Barton County residents in crisis situations.
 “We typically serve 7,000 people a year and we are on pace to go over that amount this year,” said Jennie, who manages the Food Bank. “We’ve served 6,730 people already through 11 months and we average 16 families per day during the three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) that we are open.”
Added Food Bank Board co-chair Evelyn, “We have a lot of people working in the oil industry who have lost jobs or had their hours cut, so that’s added to this year’s demand. We need every bit of help we can get right now to keep up with that increased need.”
 The crew comprising nearly two dozen Food Bank volunteers serves more than 600 people a month. And they are completely reliant on community donations of food and money each month, explained Jennie.
“We work hard as volunteers to give people a hand up, not a hand out, but we can only do so much,” said Jennie. “It’s only because of the generosity of companies like Rosewood Services and people in the community, that’s the only way we are able to do the work that we do. Thank goodness we have the continued support in order to provide for children and families who are in genuine need because of hardship.”