LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston’s Miller sisters have kept themselves busy during the quarantine by baking and selling cookies and cookie cakes to raise funds for Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN).
Through their new business, “Heard You’re Hungry,” Allie, 16, Sarah, 19, and Gabby, 20, have raised more than $700 for the organization since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The business started out of my passion for baking cookies after I perfected my own recipe,” said Allie, who gave her two older sisters baking lessons and has been enjoying spending time with them in the kitchen over the last few months.
The Miller sisters discovered LNHN through their uncle, the owner of Sonny’s Bagels in South Orange, who has been bringing any leftover bagels to LNHN each day to be delivered to other pantries in Newark. Impressed by the organization, which has worked with more than 60 Livingston families in need of financial assistance and also manages the local food pantry, the sisters decided to host a fundraiser to assist in LNHN’s efforts.
“After hearing about the great work that this charity does and the many local people they aid that are in need, we felt like we wanted to pitch in and help, especially during such a hard time,” said Allie.
The Millers had participated in volunteer projects independently in the past, but the LNHN initiative was “Heard You’re Hungry’s” first foray into fundraising.
Using the more than $700 raised by selling cookies, Sarah reported that she and her sisters were able to purchase many of the items on the list of needed supplies at the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW), which is now located at Livingston Town Hall.
After making the donation to LNHN in May, Gabby expressed the family’s collective gratitude toward the customers who purchased cookies in support of LNHN.
“We are so thankful for our customers who helped us raise all of this money,” she said.
In addition to supporting a local cause, customers also had many other reasons to purchase the sisters’ unique baked goods over the last few months. Since launching “Heard You’re Hungry,” the sisters have sold bags of mini cookies, boxes of decorated cookies, cookie cakes and more with personalized stickers to fulfill orders for various celebrations such as Mother’s Day, high school graduations, college acceptances and more.
“If it wasn't for the quarantine, I don't think this business would have ever flourished or even happened,” said Gabby. “The company was originally Allie's idea, as she was baking so much on her own during this time. We put our minds together and decided to turn this hobby into a business venture.”
Stacey Rubinstein, president and co-founder of LNHN, praised the Miller sisters, stating that “if ‘beyond delicious’ and ‘generous’ crossed paths, they'd be ‘Heard You're Hungry.’”
“That about sums up how we were feeling, as we were amazed by the girls' baking talent, but also with their interest in giving back as they kicked off their sweet venture by donating back profits,” she said. “It was an incredibly generous gesture and the families we serve will benefit tremendously. We also love seeing youth taking the time to learn about need and to excel in entrepreneurship."
Working in conjunction with the Livingston Township Social Worker Anakaren Millan, who screens families to determine if they are eligible for financial aid through the organization, LNHN provides short-term emergency financial assistance, meal donations, fresh produce, non-perishables and grocery store gift cards to residents in need.
LNHN is an affiliate of Livingston’s Healthy Community, Healthy Youth (HCHY), whose president, Alan Karpas, stated that LNHN has worked with 10 new families since the start of the pandemic.
When LNHN is fortunate to have a surplus of supplies, member Nick Santinelli delivers food to Newark soup kitchens and occasionally soup kitchens in other towns.
The sisters are still accepting orders and “post photographs of [their] cookies daily to show what [they] can do,” according to Sarah.
To apply for LNHN assistance, contact Millan at email@example.com.