By MARYLIN DAY, for The Democrat

JACKSON TWP. — How many of you know about Waycross, the children’s camp and conference center in northern Brown County owned and managed by the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis?

This ministry of the Episcopal Church welcomes all for recreation and rest and renewal for body and spirit. With nearly 400 beautiful acres, this center encourages youth and adults to embrace a healthy and spiritually positive lifestyle.

Waycross gives back to their Brown County home. Their ministry to Brown County residents includes support for Mother’s Cupboard, Brown County Weekend Backpacks and more.

Barb Hamm, the director of food services for Waycross for 17 years, has developed a Waycross Cookie Jar ministry that includes the famous Waycross cookies.

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Beginning in 2011, Hamm decided to use some of the many cookie jars that decorated the dining room in the conference center and the camp dining hall. She filled them with cookies once each month when Executive Director Van Beers volunteered at Mother’s Cupboard food pantry. He would give this cookie jar to one family as a surprise gift.

This project became well known with conference guests, staff and the youth at camp. They began collecting cookie jars to donate to Hamm’s mission so more could receive this special gift. Staff, clients, youth, guests, etc., all competed to give her the “best-looking” cookie jar for her ministry.

The Waycross Cookie Jar ministry has resulted in approximately 250 cookie jars filled with the famous Waycross cookies given away during the past six years.

While Mother’s Cupboard still receives these cookies (many are now given at Christmas), others in Brown County also are benefiting, including shut-ins, families with special needs children, or others with significant birthdays or celebrations.

Hamm’s ministry is continuing to grow and very soon may need to be managed outside of Waycross. But Brown County is her home, and she hopes the future of the Waycross Cookie Jar ministry continues in her Brown County community.