A University of Connecticut student sold koala-shaped cookies and raised $214 this past week towards helping Australian wildlife.
Liv Schoenbeck, an eighth-semester biology and psychology double major, said she was inspired after watching YouTube videos in the wake of the bushfire crisis. She wanted to donate to help support injured wildlife and restore their homes however, she couldn’t afford to donate as much as she would like on her own.
“I started reading up and learning all about the fires and [how] bad and severe they were, and I wanted to do something to help, but I am a broke college student so I didn’t really have the ability to do much but donate ten dollars,” Schoenbeck said. “So, I decided instead to put the ten dollars towards ingredients and to do this.”
After purchasing flour, butter and a koala cookie cutter, she was ready to start baking. Schoenbeck said she loves to bake and already had most of the supplies. It was this love of baking, in addition to Instagram posts, that led her to realize she could bake for the noble cause.
“I actually saw a post someone had done on Instagram in which they had basically donated all of their money and designed cookie cutters, and they made money from cookie cutters sales and gave money to Australian wildlife,” she said. “It gave me the idea that I could do something with baking and I don’t get to do it a lot so I will take any excuse to do it…I figured people like cookies, the semester is about to start, I figured it was a good time to do it.”
The cookies were plain sugar cookies made into the shape of koala heads using a cookie cutter, Schoenbeck said. The decorations to transform the cookies into the cuddly creatures were made with dyed royal icing. They were sold for five dollars for three cookies.
Schoenbeck said she chose WIRES Wildlife Rescue to donate her earnings to because of their “big-picture” plan to continue to aid injured animals during the aftermath. According to their website, they are pursuing new long-term projects to help native animals.
“Basically, one of my biggest concerns is always that after a natural disaster, people tend to forget about it and it falls to the wayside,” Schoenbeck said. “One thing that WIRES is doing is they are allocating a lot of resources to continue the help for animals. Preparing for future endeavors and something that is going to last years and years. It’s one thing to take in animals that are hurt now but it’s another thing to help the animals suffering from starvation and habitat loss in the months and years to come.”
She said she was hopeful but unsure what would happen when she first posted on the Facebook page “Buy and Sell UConn Tickets.” She couldn’t have predicted the success that she had.
“I was worried that no one was going to buy any because I have never done anything like this and by far this is the most cookies I have ever made in one go,” Schoenbeck said. “I was really happy with the response that I got because it was almost instant. I got my first order within ten minutes of posting it and within twenty-four hours, I had ten to fifteen orders already and about $70 raised.”
Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.