MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Cookie Cart is a non-profit that gives job opportunities to youth – teaching culinary skills, and business skills.

There is one location in North Minneapolis, another on the east side of St. Paul.

Cookie Cart is a bakery with a mission to employ and empower youth. It’s the sweetest of places, but COVID-19 has had some bitter effects.

Because of COVID-19 regulations, no one under 18 can bake or sell their trademark cookies, so they’ve cut staff from about 120 to 60.

Matt Halley is the executive director of Cookie Cart.

He explains how they’ve been able to retain some of the staff. “While they can’t be in the bakery, packing cookies and doing live customer service, they have been doing things like taking marketing classes,” he said.

While they’ve been improvising with staff, the other tough challenge to chew on has been major loss of revenue. Halley explains, “Cookie Cart’s base customers are large groups of people who meet at events, a weddings, at corporate training  so our target cookie market is not gathering right now.”

They do have a shoestring staff that is still gathering and baking so they can sell online, for pickup or delivery.

Halley says they need people to buy cookies.

And with some sweet support, they are hoping the cookie will crumble their way, “Our staff and our youth employees and all the people who support Cookie Cart are a model of resiliency for us and there’s no doubt in my mind that we are gonna come back strong,” said Halley.

The cookie cart says another huge way to help is to make a donation.

You can order cookies or donate here.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield