A friend of mine, Linda Jones, contacted me about a nonprofit organization she is involved with. Since it had to do with helping the military, I was eager to find out more about Treat the Troops.
This group, founded by Jeanette Cram, a.k.a. “The Cookie Lady,” assembles care packages for U.S. military personnel serving overseas.
Linda invited me to a meeting, and I was excited to learn she also invited Jeanette from her home in Hilton Head, S.C., to say a few words and meet with local volunteers.
There were quite a few people there, young and old alike. Everyone arrived with armloads of carefully wrapped, homemade cookies and other things to pack in boxes. Items such as candy, magazines, coffee, trail mix, and handwritten notes thanking our troops for their efforts were placed on tables, soon to be packed up in boxes.
Imagine being in some remote area of Afghanistan. Danger is present and constant. You’ve likely lost friends or have seen them wounded. You may be newly married with a wife who is expecting your first child. In some cases, you may not have even seen your infant yet, and the birthdays and other special days you have missed are too plentiful to count.
It’s impossible for us to understand what our troops are experiencing, yet most of us live our lives without giving much thought to these brave men and women. We may hear about a fallen soldier, but too often we don’t give pause to say a prayer for that soldier and his family.
Most of us don’t really know what we can do to help our troops. Now we can all do something.
Jeanette spoke with me about the organization, which she founded more than 20 years ago.
Back in 1990 (ironically on Sept. 11), Jeanette said she heard President George Bush read a letter written by a soldier to his mother. At the end of it, the soldier asked for cookies from home. Most of us may not have given that much thought, but it struck a chord with Jeanette.
“There are so many things we cannot do to help our troops, but making cookies? I thought, now that is something I can do,” she said. “I guess it was just a ‘mamma thing’ for me. I just felt like all of the troops were mine.”
Jeanette wasted no time. What began as one woman sending cookies to troops soon got publicity, and people everywhere began getting involved.
Over the years, Jeanette has appeared on “Fox and Friends,” “The Martha Stewart Show” and “The Montel Williams Show,” among others.
Perhaps the height of these meetings was when she met with President George W. Bush and Laura Bush in the Oval Office to talk about her efforts. She said the president and his wife were “lovely and gracious.” Jeanette refers to herself as the “mama crumb” and her volunteers as her “crumbs.”
Jeanette estimates about 8,000 cookies go out to troops each month and that they have sent more than 3 million cookies overseas. That is amazing.
You can read more about Jeanette’s adventures with our troops in her book, “Soldiers, Cookies & the Crumbs.”
Linda wanted to start a chapter here in Cumming, “Treats for Troops Southern Style.” She said they pack boxes so the first thing soldiers see is a note thanking them for their service. Linda said her motto is, “The more cookies we bake, the more smiles we make.”
Please join me for the next packing event Dec. 6 at the VFW Post 9143 on Dahlonega Highway. Even if you cannot bake cookies, you can come help pack boxes.
If you want to help in another way, please consider a monetary donation. The group needs funds in order to send these packages. The more postage money they have, the more cookies they can send. It costs less than $15 to mail a care package to one of our deserving soldiers.
I want to be a part of a group that is doing all they can to let our troops know they are not forgotten. For more information, go to www.treatthetroops.org.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.