The women of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church are preparing for their annual cookie sale set for Friday.

They will host the 17th annual event beginning at 7 a.m. in the church's parish hall.

“We're usually open until around 2 p.m., but we will stay open until the last customer leaves or the last cookie is sold,” Karen Painter said.

The cookies are sold for $6 a pound.

The sale was originally held in the Ottawa County Courthouse annex. When the annex was replaced by the new jailhouse, the cookie sale was moved to the Coleman Theatre.

Painter said the sale was even more successful when it was moved to the church's parish hall last year.

“We'll have much more time and space to set up and decorate,” she said. “And we won't have any stairs to climb.”

In the past, between 500 and 600 pounds of cookies and candy have been sold every year.

“We like getting pre-orders,” Painter said. “An individual or company calls us and orders a certain type of cookie and we make sure it's baked in total by a specialist.”

This year the church has sold more than 200 pounds of cookies already.

“We had to call our bakers and ask them to bake extra cookies with so many advance orders,” Painter said.

The members of the church start baking cookies several weeks ahead of the sale.

Every family in the church is asked to help and most of them do, according to Painter.

The church holds several big baking days. A church-wide day is usually held to decorate the cookies right before the sale day.

The cookie and candy sale is the main fund-raiser of the Altar Society, the women's group of the church.

In the past, the Altar Society has used the proceeds from the sales to purchase the bread and wine used during services, for new cushions on the pew seats and backs, to convert a storage area into a lounge and to renovate two restrooms in the parish hall.