“You can be miserable before eating a cookie, you can be miserable after eating a cookie, but you can’t be miserable while you’re eating a cookie—it’s joyful,” says Donna Webb, owner of Donna’s Delights in Granite Bay.
In fact, it is this moment of joy she offers front-line workers by delivering boxes of her gluten-free, protein-infused double chocolate, chocolate chip, funfetti and snickerdoodle cookies to hospitals and grocery stores around the region.
Webb, a fitness instructor and personal trainer, started baking 20 years ago when she was told by her physician to avoid gluten. “This was before there were many gluten-free products,” she recalls, “and I went into my kitchen and said, ‘What do I eat?’” At first, she stuck to just meat and veggies, but eventually she “wanted a waffle or a cookie.” She also had three young daughters, so she began to play around with fun but healthy recipes.
Her experiments outpaced her family’s ability to consume them, so she began giving them away to friends. One, the owner of the fitness studio where she worked, suggested Webb sell her products there. She did, eventually expanding into nearby coffeehouses and natural food markets.
When the studio closed on March 16 because of the shelter-in-place orders, Webb decided to keep baking—and donate her treats to essential workers. She sent them to her grown daughters’ work teams and then—through a client from the studio who is an emergency room physician—to UC Davis Medical Center. But other small businesses learned of her project and offered to help: Within six weeks, they’d delivered 2,000 cookies to every major hospital in the area, as well as local Safeway, Whole Foods and PetSmart stores.
In May, when the UCD emergency room physician volunteered to go to New York City to help treat COVID-19 cases there, Webb scrambled to send him with cookies for his team and continued to provide the NYC staff with regular care packages.
“I’m going to keep doing this, regardless of the pandemic,” Webb says. “There are always people among us who are going above and beyond. It’s a simple thing but it brings a lot of joy.”
Contact Donna Webb through Instagram (@donnas_delights) or go to donnashealthytreats.com, where you can order online and add “Donate” in the comment section. (You can specify a recipient or let the bakery pick one.)