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Grassroots effort to supply DNC bloggers with treats

Charlotteans of all ages pitch in to bake cookies and muffins for bloggers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. A Charlotte woman’s idea to give visitors a little home-cooked hospitality during the Democratic National Convention has ballooned into a buffet of hundreds of cookies and brownies.

Susan Patterson’s initial plan was to bake “a few” brownies for the bloggers from around the nation who’ll be based at Packard Place on Church Street during the DNC.

But then a couple dozen friends found out, and plans for a few brownies became plans for more than 1,000 cookies, cupcakes, brownie bites and whatever else shows up.

On Thursday, a group of pre-schoolers even pitched in by cooking cupcakes during a nutrition class at the Thompson Child Development Center on Clanton Road.

“And this is with me trying to keep it low key,” joked Patterson, who is program director at Charlotte’s Knight Foundation.

“The idea came from my desire to have DNC visitors leave with a good impression. I assumed the network media would be well taken care of, but wanted the also-important independent media to leave with a good taste in their mouth, so to speak.”

It eventually reached a point where Patterson had to stop spreading the word, fearing she’d not have enough time to coordinate and deliver all the goodies.

She now plans to distribute the baked goods Monday and Tuesday, while serving as a volunteer for The PPL, the grass-roots organization that arranged for Packard Place to be used by bloggers, videographers and new media enthusiasts.

Among the bakers pitching in with 120 brownie bites is Christi Lee, who works with the nonprofit Community Building Initiative.

Lee, a native North Carolinian, said the practice of baking to welcome a new neighbor is “quintessentially Southern.”

“I’ll never meet any of the people who eat my brownies, but I thought it felt like such a great gesture,” said Lee.

“I’m not going to be involved with all the crowds and traffic for the convention, but I wanted to find a way to feel a part of it. Plus, I’d like the independent media to know there are a lot of cool people in Charlotte.”

An even bigger batch of treats was cooked by the 15 preschoolers at Thompson Child Development Center: 144 chocolate zucchini cupcakes and black bean brownies.

The cooks ranged in age from 4 to 5, which resulted in some cocoa powder and flour going the wrong way. But the crew made up with enthusiasm what they lacked in expertise.

“It smells disgusting! Disgusting!” said 5-year-old Bella, after accidentally dousing classmate Amber with a tidal wave of cocoa.

“That’s because I stirred too fast. But it’s OK because Amber likes it when stuff goes in her face.”

Amber conceded it was all in fun, but she, too, was not taken with the idea of putting black beans in brownies.

“It looks like mud!” she said.

But it might not matter. Amber isn’t even sure what a blogger is.

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