Most know her as Kerry. But to many soldiers, she's "The Cookie Mom."
Since the early 1970s, Kerry Amundson of Ocean Park, Washington, has been sending Christmas cookies to U.S. troops overseas.
"A little taste of home means so much to our soldiers," says Kerry. "Sending cookies is a small way I can show my gratitude."
Last Christmas, Kerry organized a holiday cookie exchange in her neighborhood. She asked her neighbors to consider bringing some extra cookies for the troops.
"Each of the ladies arrived with an extra gallon-size bag of cookies," notes Kerry. "I was overwhelmed with their thoughtfulness."
Kerry contributed dozens of gingerbread men using Taste of Home's Gingerbread Boy Cookies recipe. She's found that molasses-type cookies transport well and can survive the extreme heat in Iraq.
One soldier especially grateful for the care packages is Kerry's son, Jonathan, a sergeant in the United States Army Reserves. Jon, 28, recently completed his second tour to Iraq.
"Each time he received a big box of my cookies, Jon would yell out, 'Cookies from home!' and everyone was on him like nobody's business," says Kerry.
When she greeted her son at a welcome home ceremony last September at Fort Lewis, Kerry handed each of the soldiers in Jon's platoon an Americana basket filled with homemade cookies.
"One of the guys said, 'So this is the 'Cookie Mom'," Kerry recalls. "They dove right into the baskets and practically inhaled the cookies."
For more information on ways you can help support our troops, go to Washington Operation Thank You. To find a soldier in need of cookies, visit www.anysoldier.com.
Interested in sending cookies to the troops like Kerry does? See the tips below.
Cookie Care Package Tips
Warm a soldier's heart with a package of homemade cookies. Here are some easy packing tips that will ensure less breakage and fresher flavor.
- Drop, refrigerator and sandwich cookies are fairly sturdy and less likely to break when shipping.
- Drop cookies should be bundled back-to-back in packages of two.
- Some refrigerator cookies can be stacked in threes and then tied with ribbon to make them look extra-special.
- Strong-flavored cookies, such as gingerbread cookies, should be kept separate from milder ones.
- Once your cookies are neatly bundled in plastic wrap, place them in disposable plastic containers lined with crumpled wax paper. Colorful papier mache boxes also work nicely.
- Place your cookie containers in a second larger box that is cushioned by crumpled wax paper or bubble wrap.
- A friendly letter or greeting is always appreciated. Be sure to include one with your care package.
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