“It’s been a family affair” says Candace Newman, “imagined at the dinner table and realized by the talents at hand.”
It’s hard to say where the inspiration came from; it’s as if several ideas came together at once. Initially, Candace was inspired by Kim Elmslie’s sale of her homemade Ottawa puzzles with proceeds re-directed to Save our Firehall, OSCA’s Fundraising Campaign for programming. “What can I do?” thought Candace, “what can I offer?”
Candace Newman’s family is fondly familiar with the programs at the Firehall: children’s jujitsu, yoga, pilates, adult fitness classes. “Many of our friendships in OOS developed out of classes we took at the Firehall. It’s a special place to us; it’s where we have grown our community” noted Candace.
One night in late February, in the midst of a province “Stay at Home Order” Candace asked her family, “How can we raise money for the Firehall?” It was Candace’s son Alex who came up with the suggestion, “You should make cookies, mom.” And once the idea was uttered, Candace’s husband Anders piped in with “and they should be fire-coloured.” Carolyn, Candace’s daughter added, “We already have the boxes!”
And so the idea was hatched. Candace did her market research by asking friends what they thought—did they think something like this would work, what price should she ask. The response was a resounding “yes” at $15/dozen or $20/2 dozen.
Candace had all the ingredients at hand plus some wonderful new food colors. She had been experimenting making cookies over the holidays and into January when the entire family was at home. This gave her the opportunity to test her recipe on the family and to get feedback.
Candace posted her first batch of fire-colored meringue cookies on the Old Ottawa South Group Facebook page. She received 12 orders almost immediately. Part of the sale included home delivery. And this the Newman family did together. They wore masks, and observed social distancing.
“It was such fun. The requests flew in. We raised $150 on the first round. We were so inspired we decided to try a second round. It was fun to see the popularity of the meringue cookies grow. Neighbours were very generous, many donating more money than we asked; and I think more than anything they enjoyed supporting the Firehall campaign.”
In total, the Newman family raised $555 for Save Our Firehall. In the end, Candace baked 700 individual meringue cookies and her husband Anders spent over 2.5 hours delivering the last batch of meringues on a Friday night. This same week, the kids returned to school. It was now time to quit “moonlighting” as a bakery.
“All in all, it was a wonderful undertaking. We all benefitted and it felt really good to be doing something helpful. We have such wonderful friends and neighbours and we are grateful to be living in OOS. It was our time to give back to the Firehall.”