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Today maybe 20 women from our church are in their homes baking cookies. They volunteer to donate 2 dozen each, but some make 6 dozen and more. They will drop the cookies off at our center in the morning, and a group of 6 or 8 women with wrap 2 to 4 to a package, depending on the size of the cookie.
We either do one cookie down and one up (back to back) or 2 stacks of 2 side by side, also back to back. The backs together stabilize the package, and the 2 side by side stacks saves on plastic wrap. We have found Sam's club plastic wrap is the best wrap....it stretches a bit, and holds well. We buy ours at Wal Mart. I make labels on my computer using the tiny return address size. Then, I type nuts twice....once to the left, once to the right. Then cut between the words. This gives 160 nuts labels per sheet. When we wrap, each individual pack of cookies may have tags that say choc, nuts, oatmeal, coconut, peanut butter. That way, if anyone is allergic, they are prepared. For the cookies that we are not sure of, we either put "GUESS" or "We truly do not know what kind this is." If the recipients are daring, or have no allergies, they eat those, and leave the others to the less daring. (Most boxes are shared by the individuals we send to.)
After lining our flat rate boxes with bubble wrap or scrunched up WalMart bags, we arrange the cookies inside, cover with another sheet of bubble wrap, seal and ship.
We send to any APO or FPO address that a church member gives us. The servicemember does not have to belong to our church, our denomination, or does not even have to have a religion. They are serving us......therefore we are serving them. Period. We do not typically put any religious info in our boxes, but once put in a card that had a military prayer.
We send to the APO and FPO each month. If we get stateside addresses of single people living in dorms, we send as finances allow, but at least quarterly.
So, that is how we do it. How does anyone else do this? Any tips you have learned along the way? (We had one guy from Afghanistan at a major base over there request we stop sending because they still had 37 boxes of girl scout cookies that had not been eaten, and weight was beginning to be an issue.) LOL
Well, the weather was awful, and some of our cookies and volunteers could not make it in to pack cookies.....BUT we sent more than 60 pounds of cookies to people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Quatar, and some ocean somewhere. There were 7 boxes in all. We could not have put another cookie in the boxes!
Today we had:
cherry nut cookies
pistaschio chocolate chip
No, we do not tell people what kind of cookies to bring. Variety happens.
that is a big project. Sounds like you have it in control. For smaller projects, I like to use empty pringles cans to stack cookies- if planned ahead, you can bake them to the size that fits the canister.
For smaller projects, I agree the pringles cans would be great. Or if, like you, one person was baking, and could bake to a particular size. By the time we start wrapping we are dealing with flat cookies, round cookies, gooey brownies, brittle cookies, big cookies, etc. After 4 years, we stick certain ones in corners, some always on top, and so forth. But, we are very thankful to our wonderful volunteers, from 3 years old, all the way to 90. I would be so afraid to make a suggestion, just in case they would be hurt. No-bake cookies are a favorite of the servicemembers, and they used to get them often. When I mentioned to the ladies that we needed to stop sending them when the temps were 120 degrees over there, I couldn't get them to restart in the winter. They are very devoted. One lady does not bake but provides 10 full packages of oreos every so often.
I am new to this but saw the cookies for the troops and that got my attention. Just a hint, and some of you might already do this: put a layer of unbuttered popcorn between your cookies when packing a box. The soldiers eat that too. Plus then there is minimum waste that they have to deal with. Also make sure you use the flat rate boxes provided free from the post office. You can put as much as you can possibly cram into one of those all for one price. There are two sizes and we use one for books and magazines and the other for food items.
My son just came back home from his second tour in Iraq and believe me they appreciate anything that is from HOME. Thank you to all.
The popcorn is a great idea, but there is very little 'between' when we pack the cookies. I doubt we could get 10 hershey kisses stuck in there anywhere, and we try to make the box as heavy as possible to try to put one over on the post office..
We also use the flat rate boxes. We aren't too far from the APO AE , so sometimes we save less than $1 to those addresses. But, for the APO AP we save $10 per box. It used to be that priority mail was not charged according to distance, but when that started we really got hit with shipping expenses. Thank Heaven for flat rate. (We used to send boxes twice as big for much less cost. Oh Well. It is a good cause.
Thank you for all of your helpful information on shipping cookies the troops. I just adopted a soldier thru Soldier's Angels (http://soldiersangels.org/index.php?page=adopt-a-soldier) and will be able to successfully send cookies with my care packages.
I can't tell from the address I was given where exactly my soldier is stationed and was wondering if there are cookies that ship better than others?
Thanks again for the info
I found over the years that a flat cookie such as a snickerdoodle or a molasses cookie ship really well. At this time in Afghanistan it is really cold so a choc. chip cookie would be a good one to mail. Plus they would love choc. at this time! I just mailed a flat rate box today (weighing in at almost 11 lbs.!). Included in it was a lot of candy bars, socks and stocking caps. Actually my box was going to go to the children. But the soldiers would love some choc. as well.
Thanks for the cookie help and the hint about sending chocolate. I was at the store last night debating with myself about getting some bags of the minitures out for valentines, talked myself out of it but will go back and get some to send.
A message to all who have contacted me re: cookies to the troops. I appreciate all the phone calls I have received about how to get addresses for the soldiers. It was great to visit with you and find out where you live. The website that is on Links is for Operation Thank You in Washington state. You can contact them however for those of you not in WA you can contact the American Legion near you or the closest VA office. There is also a website called Blue Star Moms that could possibly help you. Good Luck and thank you to all who support our troops!
I adopted my soldier through Soldier's Angels a non profit group. http://soldiersangels.org/
do you use the 11-7/8" x 3-3/8" x 13-5/8" or the 11" X 8.5" X 5.5"; I guess it really doesn't matter but is there a preference?
We use the second size mentioned.....shaped more like a shoe box that a shirt box. The reason is the way it opens at the top. It is easier for us to pack. We only send cookies, sometimes candy. For people that send other items as well, perhaps the other size would work better.
I use the 11"x81/2"x51/2" for food items and the other size for magazines, books and sometimes clothing items.
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