The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

A Sweet Offering
Former Sacramento City College student John Marcott and his family bake cookies for people that have to work on the holidays. Photo by Trevon Johnson [email protected]

Jonathan Taraya | Contributing Writer

The Cookie Project: one family’s act of kindness to people working on Christmas

For those who have to work on Christmas Day, John Marcotte and his family have created a sweet solution to share the holiday spirit.

“It’s an idea that seems to resonate with people. I mean, people hear about it, they go, ‘It’s a good idea,’” said John, a Sacramento writer and editor.

The staccato beep of the Marcottes’ oven blasts in the kitchen of their East Sacramento home. The aroma of  chocolate chip cookies wafts into their living room as the two Marcotte children, Anya, 10, and Stella, 7, dip their fingers into their baking bowl to taste the next batch of cookie dough.

Unlike most home baked goods, these cookies aren’t for the family to enjoy, but are for strangers who have to work Christmas Day.

“We have started the Cookie Project,” said John, a former City College student and an editor on the Express newspaper. “We go out and we organize people from all over Sacramento, all over the state, all over other states, even internationally, and we bake thousands and thousands of cookies. And on Christmas day, we drive around the city and we deliver those cookies to people who have to work on Christmas.”

John first thought of the idea when he, his wife Patti and their daughters were in the drive-thru of an El Pollo Loco, and they saw a sign, “Open on Christmas day.”

John said it was one of the saddest things he had ever seen.

“Christmas Day is a really valuable day,” said John, “especially for those who are in jobs like fast-food restaurant workers, or people working at a gas station that would rather really be at home with their families. We just want to let them know that they are not forgotten on Christmas, too.”

The project began three years ago in the Marcotte home with six friends and has now grown to over 300 volunteers. Last year, the project handed out about 1,200 cookies, said John.

The Cookie Project has garnered national and international participation through its outreach on Facebook and
coverage by large news organizations.

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Last Christmas, cookies were handed out in San Francisco, Los Angeles and St. Louis.

Patti coordinates the baking every year with Anya and Stella. “We have come to a point where we have so many people coming to help and donate cookies and share in the experience,” she said, “that we’re actually going to be at a different location — not at our house this year — exchanging cookies. It’s really exciting.”

Although chocolate chip is their daughters’ specialty, the cookies produced for the project include cutout snowmen,
snowflake and candy cane-shaped sugar cookies, decorated with sprinkles.

“Stella’s favorite part is eating the cookie dough,” said Patti. Anya’s favorite task is quality control.

“I try and taste-test every one,” said Anya.

The best part about the project, John said, is the message of giving he and Patti are passing along to their daughters.

“For us personally, besides the good we are doing in the community,” said John, “the big thing is for our kids.  Christmas, to them, becomes about giving to other people.”  John said the holiday shouldn’t be about opening presents.

“We get way more out of it than we put in,” said John. “We’ve had people cry. We’ve had people dance because we’ve brought them cookies. The gratitude is amazing.”

For more information on the Cookie Project, visit

Editor’s Note: this article first appeared on December 8, 2014 in the fall 2014 issue of Mainline magazine.

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