Friday, May 07, 2010
Last October, 2009, Chef Eric Justice, Director of Culinary Operations for Pei Wei Asian Diner(that's Eric in the picture with these boys from the Kolfe Boys Orphanage), attended the Gladney Cup Golf Tournament. During the Gala, a Gladney humanitarian aid video was shown and he was inspired to create a new non-profit organization called Cookies4Kids to benefit orphans throughout the world.
In early December, Eric set up a meeting with several of us from Gladney and presented his idea of creating a non profit where chefs can use their culinary skills to help kids throughout the world. We at Gladney were excited about the possibilities and encouraged Eric to move forward. I already had a trip planned to Ethiopia with a team of pediatric heart specialists from Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, TX, so I invited Eric along and he accepted.
Eric has traveled the world tasting food and gathering ideas for the recipes he develops for Pei Wei, so he is a seasoned traveler. One of the reasons for Eric to travel with me was to introduce him to the orphaned and vulnerable children of Ethiopia that live in the government run orphanages and to see the projects Gladney and our donors have supported over the past several years. What the trip did for Eric was to ignite even more, the passion to help these children without a voice. Since Eric was staying at one of the guest houses that families adopting through Gladney use, it was also beneficial for Eric to actually witness families being introduced to their adopted child. He was able to see that having a family to love is a wonderful thing, but because of the enormity of the orphan crisis in Ethiopia less than .004% of the kids would be able to experience the love of a family.
Cookies4Kids’ first project features a decadent double chocolate chunk oatmeal cookie that is being sold in Pei Wei restaurants in Texas and Arizona May 3 through May 16. All proceeds from the cookies will benefit the Gladney Center for Adoption’s humanitarian aid efforts. Now go out and buy a cookie and help a kid.