On July 2nd, The Center lost an important, long-time volunteer and friend in Gingersnaps Etc. founder Alicia Lee. Mrs. Lee, whose son was a client at our Willow River Farms campus until his passing in 2010, was the pioneering force behind The Center’s volunteer-powered cookie and snack-producing initiative whose proceeds support The Center’s programs.
Mrs. Lee started Gingersnaps Etc. in 1998 after a conversation with former First Lady Barbara Bush. As a volunteer for former President George H.W. Bush, Mrs. Lee had the chance to speak with Mrs. Bush about the work already being done to produce fruitcakes with clients of The Center around the holidays. This exchange led to the idea of adding Gingersnaps to The Center’s repertoire and the recruitment of Mrs. Bush as one of Gingersnaps Etc.’s earliest supporters.
In the time that followed, Alicia worked tirelessly to develop the Gingersnaps recipe that has now become familiar and beloved to so many. That first year saw an overwhelming number of orders, all filled by volunteers with Mrs. Lee at the helm.
Mrs. Lee undertook this labor of love until her retirement in 2015. Today Gingersnaps Etc. is easily The Center’s most requested volunteer opportunity, and people from all over the community, including other members of the Lee family, have contributed countless hours to its success. Since its inception, the program has raised over $2 million for The Center to enrich the lives of those we serve.
Through her imagination and years of selfless volunteerism, Alicia Lee has left a legacy of caring that will help sustain The Center for years to come. We will be forever grateful.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 6, in the Gordon Chapel at Congregation Beth Israel. A private graveside ceremony for family only will be conducted after the service.