Whipping up treats in the kitchen can do more than just create yummy comfort food. It can also be good for your mental health.

During this time of COVID-19, the Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty used their baking skills to enter the Kempner Fest Bake-Off, supporting a neighboring community, and hopefully winning money for their chosen charities.

The bake-off required entrants to make four different kinds of cookies including sugar, chocolate chip, peanut butter and a fourth cookie flavor determined by the baker. Five Hills Junior Ambassador Hayley Sawyer created a fortunate cookie for her cookie of choice capturing first place and winning money for her efforts to help the homeless.

“Picking the perfect ingredients, measuring and mixing everything just right, and then finally making the most amazing cookies was a great experience,” Sawyer said. “Supporting our neighboring town brings both communities together and helps us all grow. Celebrating summer Kempner-style with the inflatable boxing ring, shopping at the vendors and dancing to the live band was so much fun.”

Five Hills Ambassador Kaydence Roberts and Senior Ms. Five Hills Dawn Hale captured second place with the cash prize supporting Roberts’ charity, the Copperas Cove Animal Shelter.

“This was the first time I entered a baking contest and was excited to get second place,” Roberts said. “I learned how to make four different cookies with my grandma and also got to raise money to help animals find their forever homes. It was definitely sweet success in many ways.”

Hale never entered a baking contest and was nervous about her entry.

“We were up until 2 a.m. baking peanut butter, chocolate chip, sugar cookies, and our cookie of choice, oatmeal bacon, that received an honorable mention as a great breakfast choice,” Hale said. “Speaking with and getting to know the community leaders was a joy. They were so welcoming and loved sharing about their great town.”

Junior Miss Five Hills Kadence Coombs and Miniature Miss Five Hills Joslynn Coombs tested out different cookie recipes throughout the week until finally choosing their favorites.

“My favorite part was rolling out the dough for the sugar cookies,” Joslynn Coombs, age 3, said.

Sister Kadence said she loved eating all the cookies after they were baked.

“Learning how to make our new favorite cookie, white chocolate, cranberry, was the best,” the third-grader said. “Supporting our sister city, Kempner, is important, especially right now, that we all come together as a community and enjoy all the things we have in common.”

Tiny Mister Five Hills Dominic Pollastro was the youngest entrant with his family.

“Our family had a great time spending the day baking and taste-testing so many different cookies together,” mom, Caitlin Pollastro, said. “Hopefully next year, even more families will come out to participate and support the town of Kempner.”

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