Boxes full of notes are prepared to be sent to hospitals.

Boxes full of notes are prepared to be sent to hospitals.

Photo provided by Jon Kohlmann


Local man bakes thousands of cookies for hospital staffers

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published January 25, 2021

 Clinton Township resident Jon Kohlmann holds a sheet of cookies, one of numerous he has baked for hospital staffers around metro Detroit since the holidays.

Clinton Township resident Jon Kohlmann holds a sheet of cookies, one of numerous he has baked for hospital staffers around metro Detroit since the holidays.

Photo provided by Jon Kohlmann

 Kohlmann bakes chocolate chip cookies by the dozens, individually packaged and submitted with notes of encouragement from community members.

Kohlmann bakes chocolate chip cookies by the dozens, individually packaged and submitted with notes of encouragement from community members.

Photo provided by Jon Kohlmann

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METRO DETROIT — Jon Kohlmann discovered that chocolate chip cookies and personalized notes can go a long way.

Kohlmann, a Clinton Township resident, began baking cookies before Christmas and sent them to an array of Ascension hospitals in the metro Detroit area.

The endeavor, Kohlmann said, began in sort of a strange manner. He has a close family friend whose daughter normally attends a camp near Port Huron. An auction was held and Beverly Baltramo, who oversees spiritual care and dozens of Ascension-based chaplains, won the auction.

He didn’t know Baltramo and vice versa, but they got in touch and he was asked to help hospital staffers in this charitable manner. He was asked to provide about 300 cookies per week, packaged in individual bags and including a note.

“It just didn’t seem to me like there was enough there for all the staff that would probably enjoy that,” he said, as cookies were delivered to hospitals in Novi, Rochester, Southfield and elsewhere.

Kohlmann had never baked until about seven or eight years ago, when he had hip replacement surgery and decided to try his hand at something new.

“I thought, why not do something more than (bake 300 cookies)?” he said.

He was enlightened by his son, who is a student at Trinity Lutheran School in Clinton Township. Years ago, his son gifted him a silver cuff bracelet with a verse engraved from Joshua 1:9 in the Bible: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

“I looked at the bracelet and thought, that’s it,” he said.

Cookies are delivered with the verse in tow, as well as inspirational messages from students in the community.

While Kohlmann was off work during the holidays, he upped the ante and began baking around 600 cookies per week. To keep costs down, he stuck strictly to chocolate chips while using vanilla paste instead of extract — which he says tastes better, anyway.

Due to a generous donation of $250 via an auction, he received the funds to purchase more baking supplies that will account for another estimated 1,000 cookies.

“I can’t even explain really, it’s so satisfying,” Kohlmann said. “I can’t compare it to anything in my life that I’ve done. … I know the darkness that they face every day, and if I could just bring some light for them, I’ve done a good thing.”

On the week of Jan. 10, he planned to bake another 1,500 cookies. He has also donated cookies to McLaren Macomb Hospital, as well as contributed to lunches and dinners for first responders in the community — which he called a “two-pronged approach” of offering thanks while supporting small businesses.

He plans to keep the oven hot for as long as necessary.

“Even when the COVID patients stop, the hospital work is hard enough,” he said. “Aware of what that takes and the toll that takes on you — I can’t imagine what it’s like. … It takes a different person to do that kind of work, to know you could end up dying from one mistake. It’s just crazy. I’ll keep doing this as long as Ascension wants it.”

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