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Church cookie sale is uplifting

Holiday Spirit

Holiday Spirit

December 23, 2008|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- Five years ago, a group of women at St. John's Lutheran Church in Hagerstown decided to turn cookie dough into dough - the green paper kind, that is.

The plan worked so well that money raised from the sale of homemade Christmas cookies is helping to pay for an elevator in the church's Education Building and last year helped out Holly Place as well. This year's proceeds also will benefit Food Resources Inc.

The annual Cookie Celebration, held at the beginning of December, was started by the Mary-Martha Circle, a group of about 20 women that meets monthly. Ruth Kaiss, 71, leads the group and spearheads the annual cookie sale, with the help of the other members.

The name was suggested by one the women's husbands, who now is deceased. Kaiss said the event truly is a celebration as her circle's members enjoy the fellowship of working together and the community gets to purchase homemade Christmas cookies while helping out worthy causes.

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A perennial favorite is the edible Christmas mice that Kaiss makes out of Oreos, maraschino cherries and chocolate kisses. This year, she made the treats although she was working with an injured elbow that resulted from a recent fall.

Church members are called upon to bake and package dozens of cookies, and Kaiss and her crew set up the sale and provide hot dogs, steamers and homemade soups to sell.

"These ladies at the church, they have absolutely been wonderful," Kaiss said.

Kaiss said there are many excellent bakers in the congregation. She used to be an avid baker, but said she now buys her Christmas cookies at the sale, admitting a preference for gingersnaps.

"This year was very successful. It went very well," said Kaiss, who has been a member of the church for 48 years.

She also ushers, is on the altar guild and bakes and serves for coffee hour after church services.

Kaiss, who was born and raised in Hagerstown, graduated from nursing school 50 years ago. She retired in 1998 after working for Washington County Hospital and then the state of Maryland before working for different doctors in private practice.

She is known for taking people to their doctors' appointments, helping others with grocery shopping and dog sitting. Kaiss knows the dogs in her Fountainhead neighborhood by name and keeps an eye out for them each day.

Kaiss and some of her group also bake cookies, along with other church members, for 1-2-3 Cookies, St. John's tradition of delivering cookies to those working in the community on Christmas Eve.

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