Bake-Off Between Two Dads Turns Into Movement To Deliver Cookies To Essential Workers

Jan 1, 2021, 8:29 PM

Scott McKenzie, left, and Jeremy Uhrich, have delivered over 1,500 dozen cookies to essential worke...

Scott McKenzie, left, and Jeremy Uhrich, have delivered over 1,500 dozen cookies to essential workers. (Courtesy: Danny Young-Uhrich)

(Courtesy: Danny Young-Uhrich)

(CNN) — A cookie competition between two dads turned into a heartwarming effort that has resulted in over 18,000 cookies being delivered to essential workers across Pennsylvania.

The effort, now known as “Cookies for Caregivers,” began in April when Scott McKenzie was furloughed from his job as an athletic director in Huntingdon because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I had to decide if I was going to sit at the kitchen table and eat Twinkies for the rest of the year or get up, dust myself off and do something,” McKenzie told CNN. “I made a commitment to myself that I was going to learn something new every week, and the first thing I did was bake some homemade chocolate chip cookies.”

To his surprise, the cookies were delicious. Proud of his newest talent, McKenzie shared photos of his dessert on Facebook. That caught the attention of his long-time friend Jeremy Uhrich, who had also taken to baking cookies with his two sons during the pandemic.

“The competitor in Jeremy said to the competitor in Scott, ‘I bet my cookies are better than yours,’ and heck, that’s all it took,” McKenzie said.

And so the bake-off began. The pair, ready to bake dozens upon dozens of cookies, decided to donate the treats to frontline workers, including nurses, firefighters and local grocery store employees.

Rachael Kyle, one of Uhrich’s former student athletes during his time as a girls’ basketball coach, decided to join the competition, judged by Huntingdon Borough Mayor David Wessels. Armed with her grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, Kyle ended up winning — but her efforts didn’t stop there.

Kyle, along with McKenzie and Uhrich, delivered their cookies to essential workers before launching the Cookies for Caregivers Facebook group and inviting others in the community to get involved. Within a week, the team welcomed 50 volunteers.

Scott McKenzie, left, and Jeremy Uhrich, have delivered over 1,500 dozen cookies to essential workers. (Courtesy: Danny Young-Uhrich) McKenzie and Uhrich baking cookies to deliver to healthcare workers. (Courtesy: Danny Young-Uhrich) Healthcare workers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Children's Community Pediatrics clinic in Huntingdon pose next to their cookies. (Courtesy: Scott McKenzie)

The way their movement works is simple: four volunteers are chosen every week to bake cookies, ranging from chocolate chip and sugar to butterscotch and snickerdoodle. Uhrich, who is a middle school English teacher, and his sons then pack the cookies into containers before he and McKenzie deliver them to essential workers.

“That’s the most meaningful day of our week, delivering to people, talking to them, thanking them, seeing their reactions that go from tears to smiles to shock and surprise, like, ‘Why? ‘Why are you thinking of us’?” Uhrich said. “It’s our way to recognize people and let them know we’re thinking of them and recognizing that their work is valuable and that they are a part of our community.”

The duo, who call themselves “Cookie Dads” and have been friends for over 15 years, have delivered cookies to Penn Highlands Huntingdon Hospital every week since the beginning of their drive.

“I want to sincerely thank Scott and Jeremy for what they started here in Huntingdon,” said Joe Myers, president of Penn Highlands Huntingdon Hospital. “Our staff is working so hard, sacrificing so much, and they take comfort in knowing the community is thinking of them.”

Now the pair — and their baker volunteers — hope to inspire people across the country to start their own group of cookie lovers to bake treats for their own essential workers.

“According to Andy Warhol, we all get 15 minutes of fame,” McKenzie said. “We just hope we can use ours to better the days of people who go to work every day to provide for others. If this can make them feel seen, then we have had success.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus: Stronger Together

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...

Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.

9 months ago

Only 50% of Utans are vaccinated and cases are surging because of the Omicron variant BA.5. FILE PH...

Jed Boal

BA.5 variant driving new surge of Utah COVID-19 cases

President Joe Biden’s positive Covid case Thursday was a sober reminder that Utah is not done fending off COVID-19 in many communities.

11 months ago

Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...

Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.

1 year ago

The lawn of Timpanogos Regional Hospital was adorned with flags to honor the lives lost to COVID-19...

Ashley Moser, KSL TV

Hospital ceremony honors survivors, healthcare heroes as U.S. hits one million COVID-19 deaths

The lawn of Timpanogos Regional Hospital was adorned with flags to honor the lives lost to COVID-19, those who survived it, and the caregivers and healthcare workers who cared for the sick.

1 year ago


Debbie Worthen, KSL TV

Utah County couple gives Minky Couture blankets to medical team at Utah Valley Hospital

Russell Greene doesn't call himself a COVID-19 survivor, he calls himself a COVID-19 miracle. His family thanked medical workers for saving his life.

1 year ago

Salt Lake City's streets were deserted in the early days of the pandemic. (KSL TV)...

Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

A reporter looks back on two years of pandemic in Utah

Two years ago on March 11, 2020, the world changed for many Americans as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Today, things are slowly getting back to normal. 

1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of happy boy playing and splashing water in the swimming pool...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

Bake-Off Between Two Dads Turns Into Movement To Deliver Cookies To Essential Workers