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America Supports You: America Swaps Cookies, Supports Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., Dec. 11, 2006 – More than 17,000 cookie-swap parties took place Dec. 9 during the “Great American Cookie Swap” to benefit “Treat the Troops,” but only one was “Road Tasted.”

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Elaina Slocum, 5, hands Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Melvin, a tin of cookies her Daisy Girls Troop 224 from Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Ashurst Elementary School had just packed. The eight girls in the troop helped package more than 100 dozen cookies Dec. 9 before they delivered them to Marines living in the barracks on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., as part of the Great American Cookie Swap sponsored by DuPont Teflon. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Both DuPont Teflon, which sponsored the event, and Treat the Troops are members of America Supports You, a Defense Department program showcasing Americans’ support for the nation’s servicemembers.

Jamie and Bobby Deen, hosts of the Food Network program “Road Tasted,” made an appearance at the cookie swap Melissa Lewis held at her home here. The brothers are Great American Cookie Swap ambassadors and were on hand to sign autographs and lend their advice and support.

“It’s a tough fight for our men and women on the ground over there, and … you know that families here are missing them; they’re missing their families,” Jamie Deen said. “To receive something like a great fresh-baked cookie just gives them a little taste of home.”

More than just sending a little piece of home to troops overseas, the Great American Cookie swap had a broader effect.

“This is a multifaceted (event),” Deen said. “It helps kids learn to appreciate and recognize the sacrifice that (servicemembers) make.

“Every way you look at it, this is just a super positive project,” he added.

For every party registered with DuPont, the corporation is making a donation to Jeanette Cram’s “Treat the Troops” organization. Treat the Troops is a troop-support organization that sends homemade cookies and other comfort items to servicemembers overseas. Just in November, Treat the Troops sent more than 11,000 cookies to the troops, and postage to ship that many cookies doesn’t come cheap.

“Locally, we spend at least $1,000 a month,” Cram said. That doesn’t take into account what her nearly 50 “crumbs,” as her volunteers are known, around the country spend.

DuPont’s donations will help Cram prepare and send cookies to those serving overseas for an entire year.

“With the generous contribution from DuPont, our member organization, Treat the Troops overcomes its greatest program challenge -- postage,” Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communication and public liaison, said. “DuPont’s commitment makes it possible for Treat the Troops to focus exclusively on what it does best to boost the morale of our soldiers ¬-- bake, package and ship great-tasting cookies to our men and women in uniform serving overseas.”

Cram said the donation will be a tremendous help in getting cookies to as many servicemembers as possible. “It means I don’t have to go out and beg for money,” Cram said, praising America Supports You for bringing “a little small group and a huge corporation” together. “That’s what America is about. It’s about corporate and government and people … coming together for one goal -- the never-complaining soldiers.”

While Treat the Troops takes care of those serving overseas, Melissa Lewis’ party took care of Marines living in barracks on Quantico. She noted that many troops are away from loved ones this holiday season even if they’re not in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“Believe it or not, we have a lot of guys here. We actually even have international soldiers here,” she said, referring to foreign soldiers who attend training here. “It kind of shows them (that) local, U.S., foreign (military), it doesn’t matter. We’re all family. We’re all missing somebody.”

As a Marine wife, Lewis knows first-hand what small thoughtful acts, like sending some homemade cookies, can mean to those overseas.

“There’s times when these guys, they’re out there and when they’re in certain areas they may not get mail for weeks at a time,” Lewis said. “So for them to open up a package and see fresh homemade cookies, … it’s that connection to home and they don’t feel so alone out there.”

Lewis had a little help packaging the more than 100 dozen cookies that were dropped off at her home. Her daughter’s Daisy Girl Scout Troop 224, from Quantico’s Ashurst Elementary School was on hand to offer assistance.

The eight 5-year-olds helped stack tins and plastic containers of cookies. Some of the girls had spent part of their Friday evening helping to bake cookies.

“I decorated them and got all messy,” Hailey Rathbun said. “(The Marines) don’t have families to make them cookies.”

By 4 p.m., all that was left was to load the cars and hand out the tins of holiday cheer, which the Marines in the Quantico barracks were all too happy to receive.

“It’s something that’s so simple, yet so thoughtful,” Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Dowling, who is assigned to Quantico, said. “This is a good thing,” Marine Lance. Cpl. Matthew Melvin added.

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Related Sites:
Treat the Troops
America Supports You
Marine Corps Base Quantico

Click photo for screen-resolution imageMelissa Lewis (center) gets some help packing cookies for the Marines living in the barracks on Marine Corp Base Quantico, Va., Dec. 9. From left, Jennifer Sanchez, Elisha Duran, Shawnda Lacy and Claire Slocum all stopped by Lewis' house to help with the party, which was part of the DuPont Teflon Great American Cookie Swap. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAdrianna Lewis, 5, displays her handiwork before stacking a tin of cookies with the other waiting to be delivered to Marines living in the barracks on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Dec. 9. She and the other members of her Daisy Girls Troop 224 helped Adrianna's mother, Melissa, pack and deliver more than 100 dozen cookies as part of DuPont Teflon's Great American Cookie Swap, which will benefit Treat the Troops, an organization that sends homemade cookies to servicemembers. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe Daisy Girls of Troop 224 from Marine Corps Base Quantico's Ashurst Elementary School pose with some of their moms and Bobby (left) and Jamie Deen. The Deen brothers, hosts of the Food Network's "Road Tasted" are the DuPont Teflon's Great American Cookie Swap ambassadors and stopped by the home of Melissa Lewis (standing, right front) to offer support, advice and sign a few autographs Dec. 9. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageElisha Duran (left) unpacks bags of cookies that Jamie and Bobby Deen had just delivered to Melissa Lewis' Great American Cookie Swap party at her home on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Dec. 9. The brothers, hosts of the Food Network’s "Road Tasted," are ambassadors for the DuPont Teflon sponsored Great American Cookie Swap. For every registered cookie swap party, DuPont is making a donation to Treat the Troops, which sends homemade cookies to servicemembers serving overseas. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley  
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