Prepared Foods by BeesKnees in Woodstock held a “Cookies with Santa and Ms. Maureen” event recently, bringing more than 90 children to its kitchen for cookie decorating and meetings with Santa and his elves.

The event, which was held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 6687 Bells Ferry Road in Woodstock, featured three stations for participants.

“All the cookies were baked beforehand, and we had chocolate icing and plenty of toppings for the kids to select from,” event organizer Jim Stros said. “The kids could also choose between specialty cookies from these stations like waffle, gourmet, or Rice Krispies Treats, to name a few. We also had hot chocolate available for the guests, and the kids were able to take photos with me dressed as Santa.”

The event was put together because Prepared Foods by BeesKnees Owner and Chef Maureem Penniman wanted to give back to the community who helped her through a difficult time.

“Back in early November, the kitchen was close to closing because of the pandemic,” Stros said. “Penniman and I crossed paths with Josh Bagby and Cherokee Connect, so I brought up to her that maybe by getting the word out through social media, sales could increase and the business could get more exposure. So we created a Facebook page for her and started posting Thanksgiving specials on Cherokee Connect and other local groups. She was able to save her business through the use of social media.”

Stros said Penniman also wanted to do something special for the kids during the holiday season, so he suggested the “Cookies with Santa” event to her, where the kids could come in and decorate cookies.

Stros said the feedback for the event from the families in attendance was tremendous, and that the kids’ temperatures were taken before they came in, with a mask policy in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

“It’s special to see the community rally around her business, as well as other small businesses throughout the county during this pandemic, especially during the holiday season,” Stros said.

Penniman added that the novel coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone, making for a rough 2020.

“It was extremely touching seeing that the Christmas spirit was alive and well at our BeesKnees shop Saturday,” she said. “I was humbled to see so many children and their families visit us.”

Prepared Foods by BeesKnees is a shared food production facility and kitchen, certified under the department of agriculture, where seasonal food is prepare. For more information, visit www.preparedfoodsbybk.com.

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Ethan is a reporter covering the cities of Holly Springs & Canton. He also covers city governments and lifestyle. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University.

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