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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 7, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 40
Columbia City Bakery Sells 'Equality Cookies'
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Columbia City Bakery Sells 'Equality Cookies'

by Anthony Greer - SGN Staff Writer

Columbia City Bakery will celebrate its sixth anniversary on Friday, October 14, by donating every dollar spent in the bakery that day to three charities, including Equal Rights Washington.

'The community has really supported us from the start and a couple of years ago we realized on our anniversary that we wanted to give back, so we started with giving the profits away to a local food bank,' recalled Andrew Cleary, the bakery's general manager. 'Then, when domestic partnership was being discussed more, I suggested that we do a fundraiser for that, and we made what we coined 'equality cookies.' We did the 'Equality Cookie' a few years ago during the referendum campaign, which was a heart-shaped cookie with rainbows and the equality sign.'

This year, the entire day's proceeds from everything they sell will go to the charities they've selected.

'We wondered at the time if we could handle it with giving away all of the money and what happened was people got on the light rail and came out and supported us and we're doing quite well, and this year we're doing our biggest fundraiser ever,' said Cleary. 'And this year Evan, the owner, allowed me, our pastry chef, and our retail manager to each pick a charity to support that we felt benefitted our community.'

The other two charities that the proceeds will be donated to are Homeward Pet Adoption and the Seward Park Audubon Center.

'I chose to donate to Equal Rights Washington because the whole referendum process around our domestic partnership law really upset me. On the one hand, I am happy about the law. Its passage forced my partner's employer to provide us with the same benefits other employees were enjoying for years, improving my personal quality of life,' Cleary said. 'But the process really made me angry and I refuse to be grateful for something that is my right. There aren't many great civil rights issues in our history that were ever held up to a vote, and it just isn't fair. To be honest, I'm still angry and getting angrier. We need marriage equality now so that we truly move forward. I'm glad I'm in a position to use our business to that end.' Columbia City Bakery expects to make upwards of $3,000 to split among the three charities.

In addition to their Equality Cookie fundraiser, the bakery makes 200+ donations every year.

'We get three requests a week, I would say, and we try to honor one of those every week. In addition to that, we donate our day-old baked goods to schools and food banks. We don't sell anything day-old. We donate it instead,' Cleary said.

'This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and not only that but I think it will be our biggest ever.

'We all have a lot of experience and we've learned what we don't want a bakery to be and what we don't want our business to be. We strive to make our employees happy and produce great products. We want to have the best bread in the city and we believe we do, and our reviews tell us that we do. We hope to live up to those reviews.'

'We hope to be around for a long time and want to keep giving back as much as we can,' Cleary said. 'We're just grateful to be here doing what we do. We love seeing a line out the door. It makes us feel really appreciated and makes me really appreciate working here.'

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