The Daily Dose Cafe wasn’t open for business Monday night, but it was packed with young and old who came to spread the spirit of the holidays.
Owner Jennifer Capponi reopened her restaurant and coffee shop at 6010 40th Ave. after hours, readily agreeing to use of the kitchen, dining areas and counter to decorate cookies.
“This is not for Daily Dose. This is for Arnetta Griffin’s Christmas dinner, and she wants to make sure all the families get to take home some Christmas cookies,” Capponi said.
“She has many elves. One of her most efficient elves is Danielle Rasmussen,” Capponi added. “She came in and explained to me what Arnette was trying to do for this Christmas dinner, and Arnetta doesn’t have a kitchen where she can do this.”
Rasmussen organized the volunteer event from 6-9 p.m. But so many families, friends, cafe employees, and individual adults turned out to pitch in, the donated dough for the freshly baked cookies ran out by 7:30 p.m.
Rasmussen and her husband, Paul, alone donated 500 homemade chocolate chips along with a batch of 500 cookie-cutter holiday pieces.
“Our goal was 1,200 cookies,” Capponi said, laughing. “We did way more than 2,000.”
After Griffin’s story ran recently in the Kenosha News a lot of people, including Capponi, wanted to show her some love by opening their hearts to help feed and clothe the city’s needy.
Griffin, of her own volition and at her own cost, had been cooking meals in her home and freely distributing them to Uptown families and individuals. After a feature story ran in the paper, the city notified her she couldn’t do so for lack of a permit.
The operators of Bourbon Legends, 2200 60th St., stepped up, offering Griffin use of their commercial kitchen and space to store the foods she uses, allowing her to fulfill her self-motivated mission to feed the needy. But the business had planned events requiring use of their kitchen this week.
“So,” Capponi said, “they recommended she come and ask if I’d be willing to accommodate because I’m right down the road. I love to get involved in stuff like this. And I’ve been dying to meet this Arnetta lady. I’m just fascinated by what she has done by going out in the community. When I saw what Arnetta was doing, I thought, ‘I need some of that.’”
Added Capponi: “She saw a need for something and didn’t wait around for somebody to do something. She just started doing it herself. Took money from her own bank account, didn’t ask anybody, didn’t get a permit. It’s inspiring. We need more people in our community like that.”
Griffin, decorating cookies with Liz Matson at a corner table, beamed as she surveyed all the joyful activity filling the cafe, overjoyed at the turnout, the seemingly endless stream of donors bringing in other items to help her cause.
“It’s amazing, so amazing,” Griffin said. “Look at this, all these people came for the Christmas event. It’s so beautiful. I never expected this, all these people coming together. It’s for my Christmas dinner Dec. 23. We’ll have dinner and there will be gift bags with the cookies, clothes, gloves, mittens.”
The cafe has been collecting cash donations and other things on Griffin’s behalf. “Somebody dropped off a brand new Crock-pot,” Capponi said. “There are paper plates, foil pans, grocery store gift cards, cash, carryout containers big enough to hold a meal. The customers also have been getting involved.”
Griffin marveled at what she’ll be able to share with the needy, thanks to the generosity of so many strangers.
“I never expected to have all this to hand out by Christmas,” she said.