Sweet Success

A Scottish tradition helps local fundraising soar.

Story by Carol Wills

How Julia Cobley used her authentic family recipe for Scottish shortbread—a recipe that has been passed down through many generations—to start a fabulously successful fundraiser for the Cary Page Rotary Club is a story worth telling. Cobley, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, now lives in Cary with her husband, Gerry. She hasn’t lost her charming Scottish accent, or her fondness for shortbread.

Shortbread, says Cobley, is the traditional cookie eaten as an essential part of the Scottish New Year, and shortbread cookies—called “Petticoat Tails”—were known to be a favorite dessert of Mary, Queen of Scots. The classic cookie is also the treat of choice for the birthday celebration of Scotland’s famous poet, Robert Burns. And this year you can sample and celebrate as well: The Cary Page Rotary is hosting a traditional Burns supper on January 25th at MacGregor Downs Country Club. Shortbread and Haggis will be served.

Since 2014, Cobley has put her recipe to good use to help her Rotary group raise ever-increasing amounts of money to support a number of nonprofits in Cary and Raleigh. As Cobley tells it, in that first year the club members baked about 75 pounds of shortbread and sold it mostly to each other for use as holiday gifts for their families and friends. The following year they baked 85 pounds, and in 2016—thanks to help from Gigi’s Playhouse, one of their funding recipients—the enthusiastic Cary Page Rotary members managed to produce 190 pounds of this delicious holiday treat.

A turning point came in 2017 when Carroll’s Kitchen in downtown Raleigh—another recipient of Rotary funding—lent their kitchen to enable the club to bake 350 pounds of shortbread. The final tally for last year was not available at press time, but they are certainly on a roll!

Cobley says that the 50 members of the Cary Page Rotary “work hard, but have a lot of fun.” Their work in and around Cary has heartwarming effects—and the sale of shortbread continues to ripple across the Triangle.

Gerry and Julia Cobley.

Gerry and Julia Cobley.

Organizations that have benefitted from the
Cary Page Rotary fundraising include:

The Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina, located in Lake Waccamaw,
a residential program of care for children in need of a stable, nurturing environment.

Gigi’s Playhouse, a Down syndrome achievement center in Raleigh.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, an organization that brings food to low-income families.

Memory Café, which provides a free meal once a month for people with Alzheimer’s or
dementia and their caregivers.

Read and Feed, an afterschool literacy program that provides meals, tutoring,
and books to children from low-income families across Wake County.

Ronald McDonald House, which keeps sick children and their families together
and near the care and resources they need.

Carroll’s Kitchen in Raleigh, a nonprofit that provides healthy employment
for women leaving crisis situations.

Make a note to yourself to participate in this fundraiser during the 2019 holiday season.
For information, you can email: contact@carypagerotary.com.

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