A company owned by a Camas couple is bringing some sweet joy to those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
In just a few weeks, the Portland-based McTavish Shortbread, owned by Karen and Peter Wood of Camas, has donated 51 cases of shortbread cookies to 34 frontline health care locations.
The “Cookies for Caregivers” effort started the first week of April, after the Woods decided they wanted to offer frontline health care workers some encouragement.
“Watching the news, we heard the stress and anxiety in the voices of the caregivers, and we saw it in the images,” says Peter Wood, president of the Portland-based McTavish Shortbread company. “We wanted to give them a break, even if just for a moment.”
The first shipments, sent to five Portland hospitals and urgent care facilities on April 2, included three cases of Easter and lemon mini shortbread cookies for each location, with a card stating: “When Life Gives You Lemons – Eat Lemon Shortbread.”
After a nurse from Bend, Oregon, contacted the Woods looking for “cookies for caregivers,” the couple realized what they needed to call their new program.
““We’re trying to reach as many people on the frontline of this COVID-19 crisis as possible with a little something to lift their spirits, and to let them know that we care and we’re thinking about them,” said Karen Wood, vice president of McTavish Shortbread.
The Woods, who bought the company in 2017, and live in Camas with their two teenage sons, Connor and Evan, said they were “quickly overwhelmed with requests to send cookies to loved ones who worked at frontline facilities” across the country.
“Our initial personal investment to this project was 18 cases of cookies, and once we saw the outpouring of requests, we doubled our commitment, which allowed us to send out 36 cases of cookies to caregivers,” Peter Wood said. “Unfortunately, as a small business, we have exhausted our ability to freely sponsor more cookies. Yet, we don’t want to say no to anyone.”
To continue the “Cookies for Caregivers” program, the Woods have reached out to their community, asking sponsors to help send more cookies to frontline health care workers.
To date, the company has been able to send 51 cases of cookies to 34 locations throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as in Michigan, Arizona and Missouri.
Cases are offered at wholesale prices, with a fixed shipping fee, for $60 each,, and can be sent to the sponsor’s location of choice or to one of the facilities on the Woods’ growing list.
So far, the program seems to be a hit with health care workers who have received the unexpected treats.
“Thank you so much for the shortbread,” wrote Date O’Neill, director at Good Samaritan Hospital to McTavish Shortbread owners and employees. “We shared it all over the hospital – they loved it! It means so much to our teams!”
A nurse who received some of the shortbread cookies wrote to McTavish to say the cookies helped boost morale at her facility.
And Michelle Birman, coordinator of Legacy Health’s events and sponsorships wrote to McTavish to thank the company for its cookie shipment, saying Legacy workers have been “overwhelmed by the outpouring of support in recent weeks and feel fortunate to have such caring partners in our community.”
Family owned for 30 years, the McTavish Shortbread company’s long-standing community ties and devotion to using locally and regionally sourced ingredients was something that first drew the Woods to the Portland company. The company’s handcrafted shortbread, available in a variety of flavors including traditional, blueberry, chocolate chip, hazelnut, lavender and lemon, is sold at grocery stores like Fred Meyers, New Seasons, Whole Foods and QFC, the Made in Oregon stores, and at coffee shops and gift stores throughout the country.
For more information, or to sponsor a Cookies for Caregivers box, visit mctavishshortbread.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.