A ten-year-old Chestermere resident baked over 500 shortbread cookies in support of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS).
“I’m selling cookies, so I can raise money to give to AARCS,” said Nikolas De Neve.
“I really like animals and I want to give them money, so they can help animals that don’t have homes,” he said.
De Neve added, “The animals are on the streets, and nobody wants to take them in, so they go on the streets and they don’t live as long as they should have lived. They want to be cuddled.”
Nikolas’s mother Colleen De Neve was at work when she received a phone call requesting that she stop and pick up ingredients.
“I wasn’t sure where the idea came from, but I know that he loves animals. I’m not surprised that he came up with this,” Colleen said.
The De Neve’s made over 500 shortbread cookies from a recipe that has been in their family for generations.
“It’s an old recipe, it’s a simple recipe, but it’s a good recipe,” Colleen said.
She added, “Originally he wanted to take the cookies and stand outside and sell them.”
Nikolas originally had a goal of raising $200 for AARCS, but quickly surpassed the amount, with the support from the community.
“It’s good, because a lot of people wanted to help the cats,” Nikolas said.
“The whole community’s support was amazing,” Colleen said.
She added, “We did find that the community support was fantastic. We were not anticipating that it would balloon like this.”
Nikolas said he made the first batch of shortbread cookies himself, however, the entire family stepped up and helped him cut, bake, and package the cookies.
“He’s the one who spearheaded it, it was completely his idea,” Colleen said.
However, the De Neve’s did run into challenges while baking the shortbread cookies.
A common challenge they faced was ensuring the butter to make the cookies was soft.
“There were a couple times that we would make a dozen and then realize we need more butter, but we would have to wait,” Colleen said.
She added, “The biggest challenge was having the supplies ready, and ready to use when we needed it.”
In an attempt to make sure the cookies were cut more efficiently, Colleen purchased a cookie press.
However, it took longer, and made the cookies uneven.
“We were ready to throw it across the room because it was causing us more headaches then it was worth,” Colleen said.
She added, “So we went back to using the rolling pin, rolling it out, and then actually cutting them.”
Although there were challenges to making over 500 cookies, supporting her son was the most important thing for Colleen.
“I think anything that we can do to support our kids being better global citizens is really important.
“It’s important to support them whenever we can, if he comes up with an idea, I’m going to make sure that he is able to do it,” Colleen said.
Nikolas is always ready to help and does volunteer cuddling cats on the weekends at the Cat’s Meow, Colleen said.
She added, “He loves animals, and he wants to do things for them, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more fundraisers on the horizons.
“Anything he can do to spend more time and help with the animals, he’s happy.”