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The Bitter Root Humane Association is hosting a "Cookie Walk, Bake Sale & More" for customers to stock up on their favorite holiday cookies at a new larger venue, Dec. 8.

The event is an opportunity to support the organization that has been serving the Bitterroot Valley by caring and advocating for animals since 1972.

Executive Director Mary Gehl said the Cookie Walk is a fun event that is important.

“It helps us keep the doors open,” Gehl said. “We have over a $300,000 operating budget. It takes a lot of fundraisers to keep us going. The funds from the Cookie Walk go directly to operating expenses. It helps keep animals safe and fed and that kind of thing throughout the next year.”

It is also an opportunity to get yummy holiday cookies and sweet treats without any baking, fussing or stress.

Nearly 50 local bakers are on the job preparing for the event.

In early November, Gehl said she had already made 128 dozen and was still going strong.

“I’m not sure how many everyone else will come up with,” she said. “Cookies are the main event. They aren’t prepackaged but on trays and people get a little cookie box and walk around and pick whatever they want and purchase them by the pound.”

Pies, cakes, breads and candies will also be available at individual prices.

The cookie walk will have gift and decorating items, like unusual cookie jars and tins, handmade holiday stockings, holiday jewelry, whimsical pet items and potted South African Amaryllis plants.

“This year we have expanded a little bit,” Gehl said. “We’ll have five raffle baskets that people can buy a chance on. We are also decorating 15 live-greenery swags.”

Everything is donated for the Bitter Root Humane Association "Cookie Walk, Bake Sale & More" making the event more profitable.

“Hopefully everyone will come and have fun,” Gehl said. “We have a larger location at the Elks Lodge — hopefully it will be big enough and more cashiers will be on hand. Usually people line up a half hour before the doors open. Last year we sold every crumb before noon.”

Gehl said if any cookies or sweets remain after the sale they will be donated to Habitat for Humanity to be used at the current build.

“It will go from one nonprofit to another nonprofit cause, if we have anything left,” Gehl said. “There is a plan but there could be nothing left.”

BRHA Volunteer Coordinator Melissa Beck said all of Hamilton is excited about it.

“It is a big event that everybody looks forward to every year,” Beck said. “People bring treats for humans but there will also be homemade cat and dog treats.”

“And organic cat nip,” Gehl added. “We can’t forget the kitties.”

Gehl said every item is delicious.

Beck agreed.

“All the cookies are homemade with love by people that are skilled and give from the kindness of their hearts,” she said. “Instead of giving us money they go buy flour and sugar and turn on their ovens and put love in the treats.”

“The same with customers that come,” Gehl said. “Every dollar they spend goes back into the organization to keep the animals going.”

On Saturday, the BRHA will have many volunteers and board members on hand to serve customers and keep trays refilled.

“My youngest helpers have been helping since 2009,” Gehl said. “They are 11 now.”

There may also be a volunteer in a giant gingerbread man costume.

“It will be great to see Ginger come but we don’t know if that will happen or not,” Gehl said. “We do have connections to people who are theatrical. We hope everyone comes and has a good time.”

Stock up on sweet treats and support the Bitter Root Humane Association by attending the "Cookie Walk, Bake Sale & More" at the Elks Lodge, 203 State St., in Hamilton. The doors will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday, Dec. 8.

Plan to come early for the best selection since this event has sold out in the past.

All proceeds from the sale will be used by BRHA to assist animals in need throughout the coming year.

For more information or to support the Bitter Root Humane Association directly visit their website bitterroothumane.org or call 406-363-5311.

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