Featured LEISURE

Mom and son bond over cookies

Oliver Donavan and his mother, Laura (courtesy photo)

Mom and son bond over cookies

By Jill Alexander

Like most young boys, Oliver Donavan, 9, loves the beach as well as tasty cookies.

When he’s not enjoying the sandy shores, playing soccer and doing all kinds of other activities with his mom, Laura, he’s designing the packaging for her cookie business – Oli’s Cookies Company. The cookies are available at the Scripps Ranch Farmer’s Market. 

The company offers everything from snickerdoodle and chocolate chip, to the most popular limoncello. The business was founded in November 2022.

Laura said it all began after her son was diagnosed with autism in 2018 and she had to leave her career as a chef to become a full-time caregiver.

“I learned he had autism and I had to start making plans and come up with ideas for my son’s future,” she said. “I was giving my cookies to friends and family, and they loved them. They thought the cookies were delicious and asked why I wasn’t selling them. So, I thought, ‘why not?’ and began selling and advertising them through social media.”

Thus began her journey of understanding the world of autism and how best to raise Oliver while making cookies in her kitchen.

Today, she bakes daily, and Oli helps with the artistic side of things, which keeps mom and son working together.

“He’s got a real artistic gift,” she said.

Some images on the packaging include a heart, a cookie monster, and a surfer, among other colorful creatures known as “Oli’s Cookie Crew.”

The plant-based cookies sell for $18 a dozen and can be bought online at oliscookiecompany.com where there is “always free shipping,” and at the Scripps Ranch Farmer’s Market on Thursdays.

Mom’s other mission, besides whipping up scrumptious cookies, is to spread awareness about autism.

“I welcome other parents who have kids who are autistic to discuss, ask questions, and share their thoughts and stories with me,” she said.

A single mother with three other adult kids, she recently hired her daughter-in-law as head baker.

Another way mom and son bond is by going to Maui on vacation once a year, she said.

“We’ve been going since he was 6 months old, and it’s his happy place,” she said. “He loves the ocean more than anything and connects with the island. It’s also where I can let everything go and we can reconnect, and regroup … no therapy, just us.”

Laura stressed that through Oli’s Cookies Company, she wants to continue spreading awareness to those who need it.

“Oli’s Cookies are created to spread awareness and, while I do donate to various groups and charities that help autism, I do Oli’s Cookies on a personal level,” she said.

The ultimate goal down the road is to create jobs for those on the spectrum and someday have a storefront with a workshop in the back.

“It is my goal to be able to continue to expose Oli to many new adventures and help him thrive in life while spreading autism awareness and acceptance one delicious cookie at a time,” she said.

Visit the Oli’s Cookies Company booth at the Scripps Ranch Farmer’s Market, held from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. each Thursday at 10045 Carroll Canyon Road.