The Cookie Cart began in the early 1980s as a grassroots effort by Sister Jean Thuerauf, who opened her North Minneapolis home to neighborhood youth in an effort to help them escape gang recruitment. Every day after school, Sister Jean’s home was filled with young people working on homework and baking cookies. Word quickly spread of Sister Jean’s generosity, and, soon, her home was not large enough for the number of youth or cookies.
A pushcart was furnished by supporters of Sister Jean’s efforts, and young people began selling their cookies on the streets of North Minneapolis. In 1988, the Cookie Cart was registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and the cookie baking was moved to a bakery on Emerson Avenue North, near West Broadway Avenue. Today, the Cookie Cart is located on West Broadway Avenue, in the heart of North Minneapolis. Since its inception, the Cookie Cart has served literally thousands of young people who live in North Minneapolis.
Click here to see photographs from the early years of the Cookie Cart.
Mission and Goals
The Cookie Cart’s mission is: centered in a community nonprofit bakery, Cookie Cart builds better lives by providing lasting and meaningful work, life and leadership skills. The organization’s primary goal is to prepare young people to find and keep jobs in the 21st century workforce. It achieves this objective by giving teens the opportunity to gain transferable employment and interpersonal skills that will help them be successful in work and in life. It also exposes them to a broad range of career choices and helps them identify areas of interest and aptitude for potential careers.
– Renovation & Expansion
Cookie Cart believes that teaching life, leadership and employment skills is key to breaking the cycle of generational poverty and preparing tomorrow’s workforce. However, we have reached full capacity at our North Minneapolis facility so, 200 teens who wanted this opportunity this year were turned away. And, we expect demand for our services to grow for teens in neighborhoods facing significant challenges. Our strategic plan and the Capacity Campaign --which we launched last year– will enable us to serve those needs.
As a first step, we’ll focus on our site on West Broadway, renovating our bakery to accommodate more teens and increasing classroom space to offer more training for those in their first jobs. Then, once we have North Minneapolis at full capacity, we’ll take our model to St. Paul, to a neighborhood facing similar challenges.
Learn more or support our growth at http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Capacity-Campaign-Renovation-And-Expansion