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On December 3rd, 2020, Advocates for Children brought their Annual Christmas Cookie Competition to a close with a judging event that took place in Downtown Cartersville at the Friendship Plaza Stage. The judging was the final stage of a month-long fundraiser that benefited the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter and Advocates for Children as a whole. 

During the last two weeks of October, the participating teams met with a resident of the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter and created and designed their cookie. The teams were The City Cellar & Loft, Noble & Main, Neena’s Pizza, Fire Station 1, Cartersville Country Club, and Bridge House Café.

Once the teams had created their cookie entry, the fundraising began. From November 2nd to December 3rd, people were able to vote for their favorite team by donating to Advocates for Children. Every dollar donated was the equivalent of 1 vote for the team. Teams worked hard to fundraise for Advocates

the Judges

The BridgeHouse Cafe´ winner

Once the fundraising came to an end, a panel of local celebrity judges tasted each cookie. The judges were Chef Dorian Hunter, winner of Master Chef, Johnny Mitchell, Mayor Matt Santini, Danae Gamble, and Advocates for Children’s very own Quacky the Duck! In order to maintain social distancing, each judge was seated at their own individual table while tasting the cookies. 

“Safety was a high priority for us,” says Renee Shields, event organizer and Director of Development at Advocates for Children. “Coming from a hospitality background, I know the importance of food safety, but additionally we had to contend with COVID precautions as well. That’s why we set up a hand washing station, and had the server wear gloves and a mask.” 

Judging began at 4:00 pm and was concluded by 4:30 pm. The winning team, Bridge House Café, was announced at 5:00 pm to the gathering crowd waiting to see the Cartersville Christmas Parade. The Bridge House team cookie was a delicious chocolate turtle cookie stuffed with pretzels and nuts, drizzled with chocolate, and topped with a Rollo. 

The finishing touch was a sprinkling of French sea salt to accentuate the sweet and salty taste. Andrea Wallace, co-owner of Bridge House Café, said this about winning the competition: “Thank you so much! What a wonderful surprise and honor. Thank you to Advocates for all that you do.”

Co-Owner Andrea Wallace
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And with that, Advocates for Children closed the book on their second Annual Christmas Cookie Competition. The teams raised over $2,000 for Advocates for Children and brought some Christmas joy to the residents of the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter. “We are always so grateful to our donors, sponsors, and other participants in all our events, but this event is particularly special to us,” says Shields. 

“The kids really enjoy these outings, and it is a good opportunity for them to grow and learn about something new. For our community partners to take time out of their busy schedules for these kids— their time is one of the greatest gifts they could give.”

Advocates for Children is a non-profit organization that is committed to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Founded as a children’s shelter in 1983, Advocates for Children has since expanded and now includes eight different programs across eleven counties. 

The mission of the organization is “To strengthen our community of families by offering safety, comfort and hope to children and preventing child abuse in all its forms.” If you would like to learn more about Advocates for Children or how to get involved in these upcoming events, contact Renee Shields, Development Director, at

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