Operation Cookie Drop Off to send goodies to troops for holidays
While baking your holiday cookies, why not make an extra dozen or two and send them to Delaware troops serving overseas? That’s what Operation Cookie Drop Off hopes to do this weekend.
“I donated last year because I was intrigued by the program and met Judy Mangini,” said Roberta Walter, the senior vice-president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Mason Dixon Post 7234. “She’s one of the most dedicated, loyal veteran supporters I’ve ever met in my life. Her husband is a veteran, but she has no children or grandchildren who are serving at this time.”
Walter said that she and Mangini became acquainted when Mangini performed at the VFW Post for Operation SEAs the Day this past summer.
“From that point on, our friendship picked up. This year, we made a decision that we wanted to get involved with her Operation Cookie Drop Off,” said Walter, adding that Mangini has also been active in helping the Family Readiness Group. “Judy has been real helpful to us. We wanted to do something to help her, and she was glad for the help, of course. It all just sort of fell in together. It was a natural fit.”
On Saturday, Dec. 7, from noon to 4 p.m., members of the community may drop off cookies at American Legion Post 28 in Millsboro, at Sandy’s Dockside Footwear in Fenwick from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or at the Pelican Grille in Lewes from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Walter said than any kind of baked good — homemade or store-bought — will be accepted at the drop off locations.
“Of course, my daughter and I both are baking,” said Walter with a laugh. “I will be baking brownies. Last year, we found out that any kind of cookie was shippable. We recommend you pack them in gallon Ziploc bags. Or, if you want to put it in a container, a square one would be better.”
Walter said the mission of Operation Cookie Drop Off is to send Delaware troops a little taste of home during the holidays.
“The mission is to remind our troops — especially those overseas — that we haven’t forgotten them,” she said. “That was Judy’s mission in the very beginning. She just really, really wanted them to get a taste of home before the holidays.”
Walter said that such gifts to troops are absolutely appreciated, and she hopes to send 2,000 dozen this year.
“We sponsor the 198th Expeditionary Signal Unit, the National Guard Unit that’s in Afghanistan right now. My granddaughter is a member of that unit,” said Walter. “I know at least every three weeks I’m sending my daughter a package of store-bought this and store-bought that, which are the oddest things. You’d be amazed what they ask for, like cans of Chef Boyardee!”
According to Walter, the community support has been wonderful, and they hope the support will only grow over the years.
“It has just been wonderful thus far. Last year, the community came together and Judy was able to collect 1,800 dozen cookies. That’s just wonderful. Our Ocean View community just proved their desire and want to do something for our military,” she said.
“A lot of people talk the talk, but they don’t always come through and do some sort of action that proves that. After Operation SEAs the Day — that was just so fantastic, the outpouring of love and support, with everybody wanting to do something. Hopefully, the holiday season is going to prove the same.”
Walter said many people in the community have offered donations of cookies and money to help with shipping, with the heartfelt intent to simply help.
“It has grown, much to her delight and her hard work. Last year, they had over 2,100 cookies shipped. This year, we’re shooting for more,” she said. “I work for the owner and operator of a local franchise, and he’s donating some Otis Spunkmeyer to us. That’s a real good thing, too. There are a lot of people who are helping in the background that people don’t even realize, that don’t want to be mentioned. They just want to do it to help.”
Along with the cookies, the ladies in the auxiliary groups have been folding pocket flags to send to give troops a piece of home.
“My auxiliary and the Rehoboth Ladies Auxiliary have made and assembled over two hundred of those pocket flags that, this year, for the first time, we’re going to be included in those packages with the cookies. We’re going to have a way to thank them and say we’re really proud of them with their pocket flag.”
Walter said that the packages of cookies and flags will be sent to various Delaware troops.
“There are deployed units that we know are from Delaware. We send them to every unit from Delaware — especially that’s deployed overseas. It’s not just Afghanistan. There are some she has in Iraq, a couple she has in Japan.”
Walter added that she’s thankful for the community support and hopes people continue to support the troops.
“I personally am so grateful that there are people in this world like Judy Mangini, who works so hard to show our military how much we appreciate them. It’s a difficult time of the year for them, of course. Some of them thought they were going to come home before Christmas, and now that’s not going to happen. So this is just a little something we can do for them,” she said.