Baking for Homeless Families in District 204

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They’re baked, iced, and bagged, all for the good cause.

As part of the administrative staff at District 204, Lisa Schwarz-Barry doesn’t always get to interact with students and their families directly, but her cookies are changing that.

“I work closely with our homeless liaison in District 204 and we had been having conversations about how we were going to find support for homeless families during the holiday season,” said Schwarz-Barry, the community relations coordinator with 204. “And at the same time she had asked me if I would make some cookies for her for her Thanksgiving celebration with her family. And when she asked me how much I would charge her for the cookies, I had said ‘just go ahead and make a donation to our homeless families.’ So that got me thinking that if she was willing to pay for the cookies that other people might be as well.”

That thought snowballed into a fundraising idea, that’s kept Schwarz-Barry a busy baker for over three weeks. She’s sold nearly 1500 cookies to 204 staff and made over $2000 to date, with 100 percent of the profits going to homeless families in the district.

“I think in Naperville we live in a very affluent community and I think so many times people forget or they’re not even aware that we have families with needs in our district,” said Schwarz-Barry. “And so I think this project was not really about the cookies as much as it was about raising awareness for the fact that we do have families in need in our district.”

As an avid baker for over 10 years, Schwarz-Barry does it all herself, from the homemade dough and icing to the delicate decorating.

And although that work in the kitchen has been tough, she says it’s totally worth it.

“A lot of people are asking me ‘are you getting any sleep at night? You seem to be like you’re baking around the clock.’ I think that while for me it might be a few late nights, when I’m finished with it all I go to sleep in my bed every night and some of our families just aren’t that lucky. So to me it’s really about providing support in a way that’s meaningful to them,” she added.

If you’d like to make a donation to homeless families in District 204 you can give monetary amounts to the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation – Kid Essentials Fund or you can send Walmart gift cards to the Crouse Education Center.

A gift that’s sweet to eat and give to those in need.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.