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Dunkirk teachers bake up some Valentine’s Day love

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Members of the Dunkirk Teacher’s Association gathered to help plate and distribute plates of homemade cookies to local citizens. From left to right are Amber Promber, Kathie Hobbs, Andrea Hojnacki-Smith, Marcy Conti and Heidi Powell.

What is temptation? At the Dunkirk Middle School, it’s apparently 1,300 cookies.

Thursday marked the Dunkirk Teachers Association’s 16th annual Valentine’s Day Cookies for the Community. Every year the Progress Team assembles about 175 plates of cookies which are then distributed throughout three area apartment dwellings, Bell Towers, The Steger Apartments and Lincoln Arms.

“Every year we send out a survey and ask people to donate three dozen cookies each and we then have someone from each building bring the cookies over,” Andrea Hojnacki-Smith, chairwoman of the Progress Team, said. “It’s a way to spread the love, let the people in the community know that we’re thinking of them. It’s also good as all the teachers come together for the good of the community and that’s what the Progress Team is all about. We have different events throughout the year to try and build a community within the schools, but also a community outside as well.”

Several volunteers puttered throughout the room, plating up the 1,000-plus cookies, getting them ready to hand out along with colorful cards decorated and designed by students from each building.

“The Progress Team meets monthly to plan projects to give back to our school and community,” Hojnacki-Smith explained. Projects the team does each year include Project Kids Coat Program, Celebration of Education Dinner for newly retired teachers or staff with service milestones, carnations for graduating seniors and Make a Difference Day, during which the school hosts a collection for a local organization, such as the Salvation Army.

The Valentine’s Day Cookies for the Community is one of the longest-running projects the team does and is very well received. Hojnacki-Smith said that every year, the team is excited to receive thank-you cards from people thanking them for their thoughts and treats.

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