People of Whitewater: ‘Bible cookie lady’ shares love for youth, gospel

Alena Purpero, Lifestyle Editor


When you make your way from class to class, you never know who you’ll run into, but there is one face you can depend on seeing a few times a week. 

While many students may have seen her in passing, not all have gotten the chance to find out who this iconic woman truly is. The “Bible cookie lady” is Tari Bird, an elementary school teacher, passionate  about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with young people.

Bird comes to the University of Wisonsin-Whitewater to hand out cookies to students Monday, Tuesday and Friday in hopes for students to join the Bible study with a group called “Set Free: Believers in Christ” associated with the Mukwonago Baptist Church.

Just about every Whitewater student has at some point encountered the woman who stands outside the University Center handing out cookies, Bibles and pamphlets to students as they pass by.

“The Bible cookie lady is here all the time,” Kelly Shcwartz,  University Center employee, said. “She’s always friendly, she’s always offering us cookies. She even brings us some cookies to the front desk sometimes”.

Bird explains that her love for young people is what drew her to Whitewater.

“I love children, I love young people, and I love to give them a treat and the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ”.

Bird loves getting to know the students of Whitewater and said she especially loves getting to know some of the international students.

Her time as a missionary in South Korea working at orphanages for three years, ignited her continuous passion for spreading the gospel not only around Whitewater but around the world.

Bird acknowledges that many people carry on with their lives with a sense of uncertainty about what happens after death instead of seeking guidance or being taught about the Bible.

The passing of her brother fuels Bird’s ambition to share her passion for the gospel. Bird’s brother died from a head injury at the age of 17, but she feels assured that he knew the Lord as his savior.

In the midst of his coma, he woke up and told his sister, mom and dad that he was going home to see Jesus. Bird never had one doubt about the fact that he was going to Heaven.

What motivates Bird to bake homemade cookies three times a week to give out to students is the willingness of students to talk and hear about the gospel. “Set Free” recruits anywhere from one to 15 students to their bible study held in Winther Hall at 7p.m. on Tuesdays.

Whether you are interested in joining the “Set Free: Believers in Christ” bible study or just want to say hello, make sure that next time see the famous “bible cookie lady” you stop by for a chat, a treat and get to know Bird.