By Diane Y. Welch
To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year consider giving cookies that are handmade and square-shaped. That’s the tip from the founders of Kuki Squared, Alexander Evans-Pfeiffer and Barak Federman, freshmen at USC and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers.
And through their buy one/give one concept, modeled on the TOMS shoe program, for every square-shaped “Kuki” that is purchased one is distributed to the needy, “but with cookies and smiles, instead of shoes and feet,” said Evans-Pfeiffer.
Orphaned and impoverished children in Africa’s Mants’ase Children’s Home and the Semonkong Children’s Centre, and other disadvantaged children, have received cookies since Kuki Squared’s start-up last fall. The San Diego Rescue Mission and the City of Angels Children’s home in Tijuana have also been recipients.
Evans-Pfeiffer – a Rancho Santa Fe resident – and Federman both have a background in philanthropic endeavors, having respectively worked in orphanages in China and Mongolia, and having provided books to underprivileged children.
While studying in the university library and getting to know each other the two learned of their common giving efforts. “This led us to maximize our combined experience for a global reach and that’s when we conceived the idea of the cookie purchase/donation company,” explained Federman. With a shared love of cookies and a desire to give back, Kuki Squared was created.
Every child loves cookies and this joy does not dissipate with age, they said. And when the cookies are of the highest quality the concept is even sweeter. The notion of a square cookie was created by Robin Ross — partner in Kuki Squared and owner of Cupcakes Squared — who uses mostly organic ingredients, including cage-free eggs and hormone-free dairy products in her recipes.
“Our chocolate is from Belgium and there are never any preservatives or artificial additives in our products. All nuts and dried fruits arrive to us raw and we roast them to perfection, using very little salt,” said Ross. A unique variety of flavors are available, including Almond Apricot, Pistachio Cherry, Cranberry White Chocolate and Chocolate Coconut Almond to create a lighter, less sweet, more flavorful cookie square. Ross’ signature square-shaped confections have been featured in the media and at the Academy Awards, as well as consumed by many celebrities and professional athletes.
The delivery of cookies differs depending on the location. “We can ship via FedEx or hand-deliver to many parts of Mexico and the USA,” said Evans-Pfeiffer. “For Africa, we actively seek out information about missions scheduled to be there so that we can send care packages to be hand-delivered by the missionaries.” Cookies stay fresh for up to three weeks in air-tight packaging.
A more expedient method to deliver cookies is by providing funds to purchase the ingredients required to make the cookies. Some of the orphanages have facilities to bake for their children, while others may have a local bakery or other off-site kitchen providing that service. For orphanages that have neither, Kuki Squared donates funds and a recipe for healthy non-bake cookies. “In all these cases, we wire the funds directly to the orphanage to purchase the ingredients for themselves or to pay a baker,” said Federman.
To facilitate distribution across the USA the two entrepreneurs are seeking marketing through restaurants and boutiques. “We need more consumers to buy our cookies, so that we, in turn, can give more cookies to children! We want to donate cookies and spread joy and smiles to children in all four corners of the world,” said Evans-Pfeiffer.
Currently cookies are available from an online web store. Visit www.KukiSquared.com to find out more about the company and to purchase its cookies.