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Jefferson Award Winners: Dale and Sandy Pocernich

Eau Claire (WQOW) – This month’s Jefferson Award goes to a husband and wife team that’s spent dozens of years, baking dozens of cookies for those who need a little extra love during the holidays.

In 1979, Dale and Sandy Pocernich gifted a dozen Christmas cookies to provide comfort for their nephew, Brian.

“He was in Rochester Minnesota having some major surgery,” said Sandy Pocernich.

Those first 12 cookies of compassion, spurred a tradition of giving that grew beyond their family tree.

Now, the family makes 520 dozen a year, all of which end up in the hands of those who are struggling with misfortune or loss in our area.

“We give to Sojourner home and Beacon and Bolton, just really anyone that needs helps,” said Sandy.

However, crafting comfort comes at a cost. The Pocernich family spends about $1,200 to $1,400 to make this miracle happen. The family even invested in a second oven and fridge to speed up the cookie baking process.

But Dale and Sandy Pocernich don’t do everything alone, because their daughter is the master of recipes and the brains behind the bulk of ingredients.

“I’ll look at previous years to see how much we’ve used and then go off of that,” said Kayla Pocernich.

They’ve even had help from UW-Eau Claire students to lighten the load. The carts at the grocery store began overflowing as each year passed. But the time and determination are not what keeps this effort going. It’s the joy it brings to those who enjoy their sweet selflessness.

“Sometimes you don’t know what to give, so we give the gift of love through our cookies and that’s all we have,” said Dale Pocernich.

The family spends about a week in December delivering all of the cookies they’ve made.

If you know someone in the community making a difference through volunteering, nominate them for a Jefferson Award here. 

Shannon Hoyt

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