The youngsters at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center are smiling a little brighter, thanks to a pair of sisters from Council Bluffs.
Breclynn and Quinley Leick spent most of November and December baking and selling cookies to raise money to buy Christmas presents for patients at the Omaha hospital.
Offering three delicious varieties — sugar, chocolate chip and monster (with M&Ms, oatmeal and peanut butter) — the pair raised more than $2,200 to put toward their good work.
“We wanted to give toys to the kids,” Breclynn, 7, said. “They might not have as many toys as other kids who are healthy, because they are in the hospital.”
It started with a piggy bank.
Breclynn had about $10 and told her mom, Jane Leick, she wanted to buy toys for children at the hospital.
“I told her that wouldn’t get her a whole lot of toys,” Jane Leick said.
So Breclynn started brainstorming. A garage sale? Too cold. A lemonade stand? Again, too cold.
“We like to make cookies every year,” Breclynn said. “For Christmas we always do shaped ones that are sugar.”
Breclynn enlisted Quinley, 5, for help, and the girls got to work. The project took off thanks in part to a video of the girls explaining their fundraiser that Jane Leick posted to Facebook. It went viral.
“You get to choose how much you pay me,” Breclynn says before signing off. “Thank you for donating.”
“It really took off,” said the girls’ father, Tony Leick.
Orders started rolling in fast, along with donations. The girls stayed busy, working in the Leick kitchen — with some help from mom and dad — filling orders.
“I’ve improved my cookie-baking skills immensely,” Tony Leick said with a chuckle.
Jane Leick added: “It’s been a team effort.”
The girls sold cookies to customers as far away as Texas and Colorado, along with plenty of sales to family, friends and other residents in the Council Bluffs area.
During a baking session earlier this month, the girls had fun icing sugar cookies shaped like snowmen, Santa Claus and other holiday staples.
“Sugar are usually a special occasion cookie,” Jane Leick said with a smile. “Messy.”
And as the money came in, the Leicks would go to the store to buy gifts. Jane Leick touched base with Children’s, which provided a wish list.
While the girls were showcasing the toys — taking up the whole family ping-pong table — Jane Leick noted the girls were always focused on the mission while shopping.
“Walking the aisles, all those toys, they never once said, ‘Can we get this for us?’” she said. “They were all business.”
Because of cold and flu season , the girls weren’t able to personally deliver the toys.
The pair will be honored at the hospital with their photo hanging in the atrium.
“Breclynn and Quinley came into the hospital with bright smiles and kind hearts. Hearing about all their hard work and dedication in baking cookies to sell in order to raise funds to donate toys was amazing,” said Kylie Keller, a child life specialist at the hospital.
“Our patients are always surprised and delighted when a new toy makes its way to their bedside — helping to make their stay in the hospital a bit brighter. We cannot thank Breclynn, Quinley, their family, friends and community enough on the impact they made on not only our patients, but their families as a whole during this holiday season.”
“It’s especially heartwarming when children choose to give back to other children,” Keller added.
Mom and dad said they’re proud of the girls for working so hard to help others during the holiday season.
“At this young an age, to be thinking of others during Christmas,” Tony Leick said. “To watch them deliver the cookies, make them, to be so excited about giving stuff to the kids, it’s amazing.”