For more than a decade, Santina Flynn opened her home the Saturday following Thanksgiving for dozens of volunteers to join her in baking cookies for the troops. Thousands of cookies. This past summer, Flynn lost a five-year battle with breast cancer, but family and friends weren't going to let her—or the members of our armed forces—down. On November 30, Cookies for the Troops gathered 25 volunteers in Flynn's honor and spent the entire day baking a record-breaking 3,694 cookies, which beat their previous year's record by more than 600 cookies.
The idea came to life 12 years ago when Flynn, whose son was deployed to Afghanistan with the Marines, wanted to send his troop cookies for the holidays. Over time, Flynn's group of volunteers grew into dedicating an entire day once a year to prepare classic Christmas cookies for the men and women of the military serving away from home during the holiday season.
Flynn's daughter, Taylor Dubord, watched her mother grow Cookies for the Troops year after year thanks to charitable donations from local businesses and the community. This year's ingredient haul for the baking day included 50 pounds of flour, 18 dozen eggs, and 45 pounds of butter among all additional ingredients to bake more than 15 varieties of cookies. Last year, Dubord said she helped her mom to officially make the group a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
As for where they're sent, the group's Facebook page invites followers to share names and locations of loved ones who might be overseas during the holidays. "Our hope is that in sending cookies to the military, it brightens their day a bit," Dubord says. "We hope it lets them know that they have people back home who are appreciative of all their sacrifices."
Courtesy of Cindy Reeves
Dubord said her husband, father, brother, and friends all join them at her parent's house in Hackettstown, New Jersey, to bake and then form an assembly line to pack up the boxes. Along with the homemade cookies, the group stuffs the boxes with items like Santa hats, holiday decorations, games, and toiletries to help them celebrate the season while getting a taste of home.
Thanks to the overwhelming community response, Dubord shared that Cookies for the Troops will continue to expand on her mom's dream by adding a second baking day in the spring. The next bake will happen in time for Memorial Day 2020. The organization is will continue to accept donations and names for where they can send cookies on the group's Facebook page. We can't wait to see how many cookies are baked in the coming year.