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For the thousands of servicemen and servicewomen stationed away from home during the holiday season, it can be a difficult time. And for the family members of those who selflessly serve our country, it can be just as hard. That’s why — 12 years ago — a group of friends in New Jersey decided to bake cookies to make the holiday season a little sweeter for our troops. After all, nothing says love like a pile of homemade goodies.
Back in 2007, Marine mom Santina Flynn wanted to send cookies to her son Justin who was serving in Afghanistan over Christmas. So she and her friends met on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and had a baking marathon.
Nearly 1,000 cookies later, there were not only enough cookies for Flynn’s son but also enough for many of the other troops with whom he was spending the holidays. From there, a new nonprofit was born!
Cookies for the Troops became an annual event at which more and more people began coming together in the kitchen to show their love and appreciation for others who had to be so far away from home. The organization collects names and locations for loved ones serving in the military. Then, a beautiful baking bonanza happens — people of all ages get together to bake and box up cookies to ship overseas.
Sadly, Flynn passed away earlier this year from breast cancer. But her friends and loved ones knew this brave warrior would want to keep the cookies coming for the men and women serving their country. So this year, 25 people came together and, in one day, made 3,694 cookies!
In all the baking bustle, Flynn was never far from her friends’ hearts. They kept a picture of her from one of the previous cookies bakes nearby:
“It’s nice to be able to do this in (Flynn’s) memory,” family friend Jaclyne Franciscone told the New Jersey Herald.
Happy holidays to those lucky cookie recipients.