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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2007
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The Cookie Man, played by Big Brother Chris Bennett, 20, with 10-year-old Valerie Whitlow of Decatur at the 30th anniversary celebration of Great American Cookies at Colonial Mall.
Daily photo by Patrice Stewart
The Cookie Man, played by Big Brother Chris Bennett, 20, with 10-year-old Valerie Whitlow of Decatur at the 30th anniversary celebration of Great American Cookies at Colonial Mall.

Monster cookie
9-foot sheet piled high with icing celebrates Bigs in a big way

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com 340-2446

What's your favorite kind of cookie?

"The kind that tastes good," said 12-year-old Houston Terry of Hartselle, hardly narrowing the field.

Chocolate chip was a winner Saturday at Colonial Mall Decatur. You could follow the trail of icing on smiling faces to find a chocolate-chip cookie big enough to feed 800 people.

Volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morgan County tempted shoppers with generous squares of the 6-by-91/2-foot cookie and collected $602 in donations.

Sheila Patterson, manager of Great American Cookies in the mall, worked from closing time until 1:30 a.m. to bake and put together 21 rectangles. Then she iced her creation in bright colors with the words "Celebrating Great American Cookies 30 years," plus "Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morgan County."

She had to take the decorated sections apart and store them in boxes until 8:30 a.m., when she put them back together and did a quick icing touch-up on tables near the center of the mall.

Patterson was asked to plan a 30th birthday observance for the company, which was formed at the national level in 1977, and lead a local charitable organization benefit.

She had never created a cookie this large before.

"The most I'd put together before was 12 pans for a corporate event, but this was 21."

All but about 75 cookie squares disappeared between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and the rest were donated to police.

Patterson said she can't share the recipe for her cookie creation.

"I went to Cookie School for 12 days in Atlanta, and they wouldn't even let us go close to the batter room," she said of the company that is now owned by Mrs. Fields. "It comes in plastic bags and boxes, and I don't add anything. I just scoop it, bake it and sell it."

Patterson also arranged for party favors, cookie stickers, coloring books, and appearances by The Cookie Man. His costume was filled by Big Brother Chris Bennett, volunteer Chris Cordova and Big Brothers Big Sisters staffer Sarah Richardson.

Leah Rutherford Brown, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters for Morgan, Lawrence, Winston and Cullman counties, said she needs more than cookies and donations to run the program.

"What I really need is more male volunteers, because I have 50 boys from ages 5 to 15 on my waiting list to get Big Brothers," Brown said. "We are doing a big national and local push for male mentors."

Big Brothers Big Sisters, which currently has 47 matches, requests that volunteers spend four to six hours a month for a year with their younger counterparts.

Can you help?

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morgan County needs male volunteers. If you can help, call 353-0157 or (888) 412-BIGS.

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