Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

Giant cinnamon rolls are sweeping the state of Oregon and beyond for a great cause.

Portland's Whitney Rutz is using her baking skills to boost the happiness of healthcare workers in the area as well as fundraise for the Oregon Food Bank.

After Whitney had two friends diagnosed with COVID-19, she wanted to do her part to help out during the pandemic. Whitney’s husband, Paul, and their daughter have been a big part in designing the boxes that house what Rutz calls, “Whitney’s Giant Ass Cinnamon Rolls.”

It started with baking huge, delicious looking, cinnamon rolls as a way for Rutz to cope with the pandemic, and then quickly turned into the realization she could auction off the tasty treats.

Once the enormous cinnamon rolls went viral on social media, Rutz partnered with the Oregon Food Bank.

Now, enter Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts.

Coach Stotts is featured on this week's special cinnamon roll box design and even posed for a picture with the box.  

 

Whitney’s husband, Paul, a Portland-based portrait painter, designed the Coach Stotts inspired box. Whitney told NBCSNW, Coach Stotts "has been so incredibly generous with his time in working with us to put his image on the boxes and autograph them."

The highest bidder will receive the Coach Stotts box, which has the Trail Blazers coach seemingly drawing up a play with the quote:

“Let’s do a giant roll.”

This week, four more auctions will take place for Stotts-inspired boxes.

Whitney has been fundraising with her enormous cinnamon rolls since mid-March. 

'Whitney's Giant Cinnamon Roll Fundraiser' GoFundMe Page has raised $37,228 at the time this article was written.

The initial goal was to raise $2,000.

Wednesday, Rutz said on her Twitter page she is now “shooting for at least $50,000.”  

Rutz wrote on her GoFundMe Page:

Help me raise money for Oregon Food Bank... every $10 = 30 meals!

Support Safe Food Access for All Our Communities

About a week into social distancing, after learning two of my friends had been diagnosed with COVID-19, I had a good scream-cry session. I was scared and sad. I started to feel myself going into a deep hole of darkness and despair. In an attempt to snap out of it, I turned to baking and made one of my giant cinnamon rolls. After posting it to social media, the response I got back from friends and family made me wonder how much money one giant cinnamon roll could garner. That led me to the idea of auctioning one off for charity. What if I could do something for the greater community while also allowing the darkness I was feeling to be taken over by joy? The past four weekends' auctions for the giant cinnamon roll have brought in over $23,000 for the Oregon Food Bank!! That equates to more than 69,000 meals!

For every $500 I raise, I'll make a GIANT CINNAMON ROLL for our local health care workers and first responders… 

Join me with a donation… because no one should be hungry.

 

Rutz’s efforts have not only caught the attention of Coach Stotts, but she has also been featured in interviews and articles around the country; from interviews with NBC News to CNN. 

In a recent interview with Mariam Fam of the Associated Press, Rutz explained how what started out as a few donations for the big pastries turned into a fundraiser to donate the giant cinnamon rolls to healthcare workers.

 

“That second week [when the fundraiser started], the person who donated $250 and then had it matched, said, ‘I don’t want the roll. I live alone. I do not need a giant cinnamon roll sitting in my house all weekend. Please donate it to a healthcare worker.’ I thought. oh my gosh, now that is a great idea. So now, I would say 90 percent of the rolls we are making are going to our hospitals, our assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities -- for the staff to enjoy."

You can donate or find out more about Whitney Rutz’s fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank here