Holiday Treats

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Soroptimists bake close to 4,000 cookies for Olde Tyme Christmas event

By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

If you think baking a few dozen cookies during the holidays can be quite a task, consider the baking done by the members of Soroptimist International of Vandalia.

For about two decades, members of that service club have been providing a wide variety of treats for a local holiday event.
After holding their now famous cookie walk at a sorority’s holiday bazaar, the Soroptimists continued the tradition at Olde Tyme Christmas, a holiday kickoff event in downtown Vandalia.
The club’s entire membership of a little more than 30 women participate in the cookie walk, which is being held in the former home of Diekemper Photography.
Soroptimist International of Vandalia, started in 1965, is part of the worldwide Soroptimist organization.
The goal of the group is to advance the status of women and girls, using the motto, “Live the Dream.”
Each year, the Soroptimists recognize local women for their achievements, as well as provide scholarships for young women working toward a career.
The Soroptimists hold several fundraisers throughout the year, including the Christmas tree give-away currently being held at County Market. Other fundraisers include pizza sales in January and the Vandalia Idol competition, which is being moved from the summer to March in 2013.
The Soroptimists put the proceeds from those activities back into the community by funding scholarships and supporting projects such as OUR PLACE Youth Center.
Members also volunteer their time for such things as the Central Illinois Food Bank distributions in Vandalia, Ramsey and St. Elmo.
While the organization is visible throughout the year, it is its cookie walk during the holidays that is one of the Soroptimists’ more-popular event.
At this year’s Olde Tyme Christmas, the cookie walk is being held in the former home of Diekemper Photography, at the northeast corner of Sixth and Gallatin streets.
The walk begins at 5 p.m., but there is always a crowd forming before that, according to Ginger Shroyer, who co-chairs the cookie walk committee with Jan Rosborough.
“There are usually people there early,” Shroyer said. “They want to be sure to get the best possible selection.”
And, there is quite a selection, with each member providing eight to 10 dozen cookies for the fundraiser.
“We always have a nice selection,” Rosborough said, adding that some members may be providing candy or baked goods this year.
Those taking advantage of the cookie walk have a choice of three containers, and they fill those containers with however many cookies of each kind that they want.
The work of the co-chairmen in setting up the cookie walk each year is made easier due to the fact that the event is a long-running tradition.
“We’ve done it for so many years that everybody knows that it’s coming up and is ready to go,” said Rosborough, who has been a co-chairman since 2008.
Shroyer, who has assisted Rosborough since 2009, said they send out an e-mail about a month before the cookie walk, just as a reminder.
At the end of the night, there are usually some cookies left over. In recent years, the Soroptimists have given those cookies to OUR PLACE.
This year, however, anything left over will be frozen and then made available again for a holiday event that the Soroptimists take over this year.
On Dec. 1, prior to the Vandalia Rotary Club’s Christmas parade, members of the club will provide Breakfast with Santa at St. James Lutheran Church.
While some members of Soroptimist International will be baking their cookies in the next couple of days, others are already done with their contributions.
Shroyer is one of those members who is ready. Last weekend, she teamed up with another Soroptimist, Marion Shroyer, her mother-in-law.
Together, the Shroyer women baked 23½ dozen cookies.
“We baked four or five different kinds,” Shroyer said. “It took us about seven hours.”