The ‘Cookie Party’ Offers a Sweet Finish to the 2016 Election

Jean Powers, 44, sells baked goods to voters Nick Bettencourt, 23, and Sam Warner, 23, to raise funds for Winship Elementary School,. Photo by Natasha Mascarenhas.

By Natasha Mascarenhas
BU News Service

After a particularly distasteful election, “The Cookie Party” made a sweet, aromatic plea to voters at the polls in Boston this morning. Their platform was simple: buy homemade baked goods – such as cranberry muffins, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip mini bread loaves – and help children.

“We’re pro-cookie, and we can’t get in trouble because it’s not on the ballot,” said Jean Powers, 44, a volunteer for Winship Elementary School in Brighton.

The money will go toward the field trip fund for the school where, according to Powers, about 70 percent of the student population comes from low-income backgrounds.

Powers, a cheery-faced woman with short blond hair and a tendency to speak fast, stationed herself about three minutes walking distance from the Elementary School. She stood outside of the Veronica B. Smith Multiservice Senior Center, at Chesnut Hill Ave in Brighton.

About 100 people lined up to vote for the 2016 Presidential Election at the center before voting booths even opened. The line, mainly comprised of people ages 20 to 30, began outside and wrapped up the stairs of the building.

There were no Hillary Clinton stickers or Donald Trump hats among the early-risers. Rather, most people in line wore grey and black, and were drawn to their phones.

An elderly woman was reading “The Grace in Aging” with one hand, while balancing a packet of ballot information in the other.

Another woman tried to quiet her two boys, who wore matching orange and blue jackets, from being loud “too damn early.”

The voters seemed almost neutral, offering only subtle hints of preference such as avidly reading the Election Ballot or wearing a small “H” pin.

Powers and another volunteer, Heather Derocher, remained focused on a different cause.

“We’re here to help the kids,” said Powers, an Allston resident whose three children attend Winship Elementary School. “They deserve it.”

Winship Elementary School held a bake sale during the primaries as well. They met a “captive audience of voters,” said Derocher, a Brighton resident. On Friday, Nov. 4, about 2,000 people showed up to the polls for early voting, and the bake sale raised $440, she said.

This morning, however, Derocher said that people didn’t seem too hungry.

Around 7 a.m., a sign that advertised Kevin Honan, a candidate campaigning for Massachusetts state representative, was ripped off by a polling official.

Winship Elementary School volunteers recycled the Honan sign, by plastering a new message onto it: “Fill the Tank, Winship Field Trip Fund.”

While the volunteers were at the polls for the school, they expressed interest in the election.

“Of course I’m voting,” said Powers. “Women before us were brutalized, they were repressed. You can never take your vote for granted.”

Yonatan Kamensky, a first-time poll official who lived up the street, agreed with her sentiment.

“There is a sense of helplessness expressed by voters about the voting process,” he said. “And if I have the ability to help people see the power of their vote, I’m happy.”

He also commented on the bake sale’s apparent success during a cold November morning.

“Guess we’re in the Confectionary States of America now,” he laughed.

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