Where’s your current remote work setup? For Bidtellect’s Katie Broussard , it is surrounded by half-decorated gingerbread houses at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital. As Chair of the hugely popular annual Cookies & Castles fundraiser, she’d usually be gearing up for a big day of decorating. Instead, they’ve adapted to the pandemic with a drive-through gingerbread house pick-up operation.
We asked Katie about her amazing work as Chair of the event, her connection to Scottish Rite for Children, and how they’ve adapted to this year’s unusual circumstances.
Scottish Rite for Children is one of the nation’s leading pediatric orthopedic centers and gives children and patients a chance to live their dreams with state-of-the-art prosthetic needs and services no matter the cost.
Thanks for sharing with us Katie! What is the Cookies & Castles event and whom does it benefit?
Cookies & Castles is a Gingerbread Extravaganza! It’s typically a weekend long fundraiser at Scottish Rite where the community comes together to decorate gingerbread houses and gingerbread men. Typically, attendees select delicious decorations from our famous “Candy Bar” filled with 6,000 pounds of sweet treats.
This year is our 13th year, and our first-ever drive-through only event due to safety precautions. It’s still an “extravaganza” in every sense of the world: 2000 gingerbread houses (the most houses we have ever ordered ) and 6500 pounds of candy (the most ever). Last year we raised over $140K… this year (even with the pandemic) we are on track to meet that again.
When did you first get involved with the event and Scottish Rite for Children?
I started volunteering with Scottish Rite through Cookies & Castles 6 years ago.
Tell us about your role as Chair of the Cookies & Castles Event!
I lead a team of 40 women alongside my co-chairman. Our main goal is to make friends for the hospital and share the joy of what they are doing for kids around the world. (Yes, from around the world – not just Dallas!) All while raising money for the Prosthetics Department.
Together, we start planning the weekend-long event early in the year, securing corporate sponsorships, creating marketing campaigns, recruiting volunteers, organizing event registrations and logistics, and liaising media relations. We have a fantastic group of volunteers that work all year with us to make this event possible. We sell out QUICK every year. This year required a lot of problem solving and reimaging how things would look due to increased health and safety concerns caused by the pandemic. We shifted to a drive-through only event instead of in person.
The event has been so successful that this year we helped launch a satellite event in Frisco, Texas. There are now three Cookies & Castles events throughout the Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex with talks of expanding even further.
What is Scottish Rite for Children?
Scottish Rite for Children is one of the nation’s leading pediatric orthopedic centers and treats a wide range of orthopedic conditions from injuries to neurological disorders.
The Orthotics & Prosthetics department at Scottish Rite provides state-of-the-art, custom-made orthoses and prostheses for patients with special orthopedic needs. But did you know that the cost of one prosthetic can range from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the complexity? Patients receive treatment regardless of the family’s ability to pay. The team at Scottish Rite for Children is on-site (in both Dallas and Frisco) and has the ability to collaborate with doctors, therapists and other medical staff during the child’s visit. There are only a few facilities like this in the country!
What drew you to the cause?
My cousin was a patient years ago and I have had many friends be the beneficiary of the life-changing treatments from Scottish Rite.
My first time visiting the hospital I was hooked. It is filled with joy and hope. From the security guards to the VPs on staff, everyone here is sweet and caring. You walk through the doors and feel welcomed and at home… and that’s just me walking in as a volunteer. Can you imagine how calming and encouraging that would feel if you were a patient walking in feeling that way?
This hospital gives kids the chance to live their dreams… no request is too big. The prosthetics department makes speciality devices for kids to run, be artists, play the violin, archery, cheer.. You name it! That is what makes this place so special… all of this and at no cost to the families.
Events like our Cookies & Castles come in to help support the Prosthetics department and give the kids the opportunity to literally ‘chase their dreams’
Easy: the joy you see from the patients here. Hearing their stories and how they’re living their best life now thanks to Scottish Rite makes all the long hours and hard work putting together this fundraising event worth it.
Oh! And the endless amount of Chewy Sprees + Hot Tamales don’t hurt either 🙂
Finally, how can we help?
We just launched a new campaign called the Wagon of Hope to help raise $5,000 to gift 12 specialty prosthetic devices to patients this holiday season. We have 2 of 12 fulfilled. These specialty prosthetics allow patients to participate in sports, play instruments, and participate in other dexterous activities.
You can donate on any of our social media channels (@cookiesandcastles) or online here
For more information about services available at the Dallas or Frisco campus, volunteering or donating, visit scottishriteforchildren.org
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