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Sweets Sale Going to the Dogs


About 20 bakers donated items to Saturday's "Sweets from the Heart" cookie walk at Fifth Avenue Station in Naperville. Proceeds benefited Holly's Safe House for Strays, which helps older and special needs dogs. (David Sharos / Naperville Sun)

Katie Potts has found an easy way to buy Valentine's Day treats for herself and her children, Eli, 6, and Eleanor, 3, while helping a good cause at the same time.

"I come every year to the cookie walk and we pick out what we want," said Potts, of Wheaton, as her son eyed a box of lemon drop cookies that he declared as "yummy." "We adopted some rescue cats 11 years ago and like to support animal rescue organizations."

The third annual "Sweets from the Heart" cookie walk and bake sale was held Saturday at Fifth Avenue Station in Naperville, with all money raised to be donated to Holly's Safe House for Strays.

Visitors stocked up on sweets donated by about 20 volunteers, each of whom supplied four to five dozen cookies or candies in three or four varieties. Each guest was given an empty box to fill with their cookies of choice, which were then weighed and sold by the pound. Specialty items like rolls were sold separately.

The event was held to support Holly's Safe House for Strays, an animal rescue group that specializes in helping older dogs and those with special needs, such as health issues or abuse recovery, said Sandy Boston, the shelter's president and founder.

"We get a majority of our animals from Chicago-area animal control, and we hold both a Christmas and Valentine's cookie event to raise money," Boston said. "Over the past three years, we've averaged about $3,000 annually from the two events combined."

Large display tables were loaded with baked confections that emitted a tempting aroma. Chicago's Laura Agin said she made candy-coated Oreos, which she painstaking painted in various flavors.

"I made about 56 cookies this year and it took me about three hours," Agin said. "I do this because I love all animals and have three rescue dogs myself."

Another baker, Trina Ribordy, of Elgin, donated vegan brownies, which she said taste no different than those made the traditional way.

"The eggs in regular brownies don't add any flavor, they're just a binder, and I use flax seed and water instead," Ribordy said. "I made nearly three dozen of these and think they're as good as anyone else's brownies."

Chris Humble, of North Aurora, said he and his son Quinn, 4, stumbled upon the sale by chance. They were walking by after getting a haircut.

"I know this event supports animal rescue, and my son wants a real dog himself soon," Humble said, as Quinn made his selections. "We held back on the cookies as we're going out to get some doughnuts now too."

Quinn Humble said picking out cookies is almost as fun as going to a candy store.

"I won't eat my cookies with milk as I don't drink that," he said. "I'll probably have some juice."

Lisle resident Rochelle Storm filled two containers with cookies.

"There's a least a pound for me and a pound for a friend of mine, maybe more than a pound," Storm said, smiling. "I have four rescue animals myself – three cats and one dog. I like the fact that you know these are baked fresh and you recognize the ingredients. I normally don't indulge like this, but this is a good excuse."

Rachel Moore, of Naperville, lauded the "great selection." She said she's been a regular at the cookie walk since it started in 2015.

"I think the peanut butter balls are my favorite, and it's great people can come and enjoy this and give back to the animals," Moore said. "You know there are no preservatives and that the people who made these, for them, it's a labor of love."

Eli Potts said he was ready to indulge as his mother filled their box.

"I bet I can eat all these cookies in about three minutes," he said.

#AnimalCharity

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