ALTON - My Just Desserts, based in Downtown Alton and a business known for its chicken salad sandwiches, homemade pies and its toll house brownies, have partnered with McAlister's Deli, a popular restaurant chain based in St. Louis, to help promote unity and love among people by something simple as a chocolate chip cookie.

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My Just Desserts is currently making a total of 33,000 chocolate chip cookies for McAlister's to distribute to its customers with a simple message during these troubled times. The messages are for people to love their neighbors and unity among all people, with the cookies inside a wrapper that carries both messages.

It all started with a simple phone call from a McAlister's marketing representative to My Just Desserts.

"The marketing rep called me about a week ago," said My Just Desserts owner Yvonne Campbell, "and told me what they were trying to do. They wanted to collaborate with a black-owned business to show that they do business with everyone. On the cookie label, they're putting a message of unity, and what they decided to do was to give away cookies at their restaurants."

My Just Desserts was hired to bake the cookies for distribution to McAlister's 17 delis in the St. Louis area, which includes their restaurants in Edwardsville and in Downtown St. Louis, along with delis in both Iowa and Kentucky. My Just Desserts will bake and distribute 11,000 cookies for the next three weeks, and have already supplied McAlister's with 5,500 cookies thus far, which will be distributed to the restaurants from its Edwardsville location.

Each cookie is placed in a wrapper that displays both the McAlister's and My Just Desserts logos, along with the message "Love your Neighbor." along with the hashtag message #uniTEA, a reference to My Just Desserts' tea, which is served in old-style mason jars.

The project and partnership with McAlister's couldn't have come at a better time for Campbell and My Just Desserts, which was closed for two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has recently reopened for curbside service and outdoor dining Thursdays through Sundays only from 11 a.m to 3 p.m.

"It was a very good one, especially with COVID," Campbell said. "Right now, we're operating at one-third of our capacity, and we had been shut down for two months. This will help our employees get back to work, and gives us great opportunities for our business."

Campbell is very grateful for the selection of My Just Desserts to make the cookies, and doesn't take it for granted.

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"Out of all the businesses they could have chosen, they chose us," Campbell said. "so we don't take that lightly."

Things have been going well thus far for My Just Desserts, and Campbell has been able to adapt very well from making their famous brownies into cookies.

"So far, so good," Campbell said. "When they called us, we're not usually known for our cookies, but our brownies, and we were able to turn our toll-house brownies into chocolate chip cookies."

Campbell is also very optimistic that the cookies will help her business get its name out to the public, and to also help bring unity to the various communities in the area.

"I just hope it gets My Just Desserts' name out there," Campbell said, "and prove we don't have to look the same or act the same to work together, and bring unity to our communities."

Campbell also wants to set a positive example of businesses working together to achieve a common goal.

"I just hope we can be an example for other businesses to work together," Campbell said. "McAlister's isn't my competition, so why can't we work together?"

Campbell hopes it's the start of nothing but big things for My Just Desserts.

"We hope it's the beginning of something great," Campbell said.

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