Faith in Action: Haley House Cookies

by Katie Daniels


What makes Haley House cookies, the chocolate chip cookies available at check out registers in BC’s campus dining halls, taste better than regular cookies? Liza Magill suspects social justice. The A&S sophomore and  Megan Gonzalez (CSOM 2017) have teamed up with Haley House, a local organization inspired by the social activism of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement, to revitalize the cookies’ image on campus. By educating students on the social justice mission behind the cookies, Magill and Gonzalez hope to increase awareness of Haley House and the marginalized men and women the organization serves.


Since its founding almost forty years ago, Haley House has operated on a strong commitment to “food with purpose and the power of community.” The organization runs a soup kitchen in the South End that offers a free, hot breakfast to elderly and homeless men every morning. In 1996, Haley House also began a bakery training program to provide transitional employment for men and women recently released from jail. “It gets them a job to help them get subsequent jobs,” Magill explains. “It’s getting them back in the workforce, but it’s also getting them back to responsibility.”


Often working shifts from 1 am to 5 am, the men and women in the bakery training program facilitate every step of the cookie making process, from ordering supplies, to baking the cookies, to delivering them to the Haley House Bakery Café—and Boston College. The college is a huge revenue source for the transitional employment program, which is why Magill believes the advertising campaign for Haley House cookies is so important. She hopes to debunk the common campus myth that Haley House doesn’t profit from selling their cookies at BC. “A lot of students think that it’s just a way for BC to say they are connected to a social justice organization—which is untrue,” says Magill. “It is the funding for the transitional employment program. Unless there is an increase in sales at BC, they’re considering not doing the program anymore, because they count on this funding.”


Magill’s mission is simple: “We want to connect Haley House and its social justice mission to the cookies themselves.” By bringing in speakers from Haley House and hosting panels with other social justice organizations, Magill hope to give a voice to the often voiceless populations that Haley House serves. She and Gonzalez are also partnering with CSOM to explore the opportunities for social justice entrepreneurship that Haley House offers. But for the average student, promoting social justice is as simple as swiping their ID. Magill observes that, “A lot of people at BC often have extra meal plan money and want to give it to charity. This is an easy way to give directly to an organization that not only has connections with BC but also has a broad impact in Boston.”


The question still remains: what makes these oversized chocolate chip cookies taste so good? “I don’t know,” laughs Magill. “It’s a secret recipe from Haley House.”


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