POLK COUNTY-- “If Christmas had a smell, it would be like these cookies!” This sentiment, spoken by a resident of Northwest Passage’s Prairieview facility, added humor to an already enjoyable day at Northwoods Bakery Cafe in Frederic. During the month of December the owner of the bakery, Maria Booher, invited youth from Aspen, Willow and Maple Units to spend time in the kitchen to create sweet holiday treats. The kids rolled the dough, cut the cookies and helped with the baking, making it feel like Christmas – even while away from home.

The festive and tasty finished products

Northwest Passage, a residential mental health treatment program for children with programs based in Webster and Frederic, Wisconsin, welcomes the opportunity for their residents to find connections in their community. While some of the kids were able to spend a portion of the holiday season at home with their families, some of the kids don’t have a safe environment to return to, or aren’t ready to return to the pressures and temptations of their lives outside Northwest Passage. Baking cookies for the holiday season made it feel just a little more like home for some of these kids.

Northwest Passage residents were all smiles while baking

Northwoods Bakery Cafe, located at 115 Oak Street W in Frederic, is a full-service bakery and cafe featuring daily specials and great coffee. The bakery is open daily and offers fresh bread, rolls, pastries, birthday cakes and cupcakes in addition to their delicious and festive holiday cookies. In addition to hosting Northwest Passage kids for holiday baking, the Northwoods Bakery Cafe currently employs two Prairieview residents part-time, allowing them to work in their community and earn some extra pocket money. Tracy Kronn, Northwest Passage Case Manager and Aftercare Coordinator, explained "It has been a pleasure to partner with the bakery. They have welcomed us into their family with open arms and have been a big supporter of Northwest Passage and the work we do every day with these kids. They have provided a positive work environment for our residents, who have absolutely thrived from the experience. The Christmas cookie baking extravaganza was a hit among several of our residents... who doesn't love a little cookie therapy from time to time? We are looking forward to partnering with Northwoods Bakery Cafe for more baking sessions in the New Year".

While the kids enjoyed the preparation and baking of the cookies, they may have enjoyed taste-testing the most! After sampling their finished product, one student declared “These cookies taste low key sweet!”, then quickly assured the baking team, that is a GOOD thing!

For more information about Northwest Passage, please call 715-327-4402 or visit nwpltd.org.

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