Cookie fundraiser for animals

Thirteen-year-old Samantha Hilbish fundraises for homeless animals by selling cookies.
By David Dickson

Thirteen-year-old Samantha Hilbish has discovered at an early age that you can accomplish a lot with a bowl of gooey cookie dough. It all began with an impromptu visit to the sanctuary over Labor Day weekend last year.

A visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Samantha’s family had left their home in Las Vegas to visit one of the national parks near Best Friends. While at the park, they saw a flier for the sanctuary and decided to visit on the way back home.

They were hooked right away. Her family became Best Friends members on the spot, but Samantha had something much bigger in mind. Something that involved a whole lot of time with a mixing bowl.

Fundraiser for animals

She has always loved animals and wants to help them however she can. So Samantha decided to do some fundraising for the animals at Best Friends. Baking cookies sounded like a good idea, so she jumped in with both feet. But this wasn’t going to be a one-day bake sale. Her goal was to raise $500, and it was going to take some time.

Starting right after the trip, Samantha baked cookies of all different flavors and sizes. She stamped an imprint of a horse, dog, cat, or bunny shape on the cookies and then bagged them in groups of five. Each bag of five cookies was tied with a ribbon and came with a card explaining what the cookie sale was all about.

Then she brought her cookies to various little league baseball and soccer games, selling them while telling people what she was doing. She’d go out at every opportunity. And get this: She did this for NINE months. Impressive! As if that wasn’t enough, she also pulled weeds at 10 cents apiece and worked extra chores to make more money. She even asked her family for birthday cash instead of presents, all of which she added to her growing pile of "dough." By April of 2008, she had reached her goal.

Earlier this month, Samantha visited the sanctuary with her family to present the funds, as well as volunteer for a weekend. Samantha also brought 100 of her animal-imprinted cookies to give away around the sanctuary. She intends to do this every year, doubling her goal next year to $1,000. Did we mention that she’s also an honor roll student and a blue belt (fifth belt) in self-defense? No doubt about it, here’s a girl who can accomplish anything she puts her mind to.

Thank you, Samantha!

Learn more about Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

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