Cookie drive delivers holiday warmth during Alaskan winter

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Volunteers gathered more than 5,500 cookies for the single Airmen living in the dormitories Dec. 14 during Operation Cookie Crunch at Eielson Air Force Base.

"The importance of the cookie drive is for morale building," said Jeanette Pauer, OCC project coordinator and wife of Lt. Col. Brett Pauer, a member of the 353rd Combat Training Squadron. "Providing home-baked cookies for our single Airmen is a simple sentiment that sends a message that there is big family here at Eielson who appreciates them."

With temperatures (at times) dipping down to minus 30 F, the harsh cold and dark environment of Interior Alaska poses some unique challenges. However, those challenges didn't prevent volunteers at Eielson AFB from contributing to the project.

"The Air and Ground Equipment flight put spot heaters to blow hot air on us to keep us warm outside while collecting the cookies being dropped off," Mrs. Pauer said.

More than 20 volunteers helped make the event a success with everything from collecting cookies at the cookie drive, through drop-off, to wrapping and boxing up cookies, not to forget the countless cookie-contributors who spent that extra time in their holiday season to bake cookies for the Eielson AFB Airmen, said club members.

Elementary school classes from Anderson and Crawford Elementary Schools on base also pitched in, Mrs. Pauer said.

Denise Nosce's 3rd Grade class at Crawford Elementary School, spent two days making cookies as a class lesson with fractions and Sandra Bell's 2nd and 3rd grad classes at Anderson Elementary School made more than 300 Christmas cards for the volunteers to include with the cookies.

"They're really awesome," Mrs. Pauer said.

At the end of the Cookie Crunch, squadron first sergeants picked up loads of the boxed cookies and dispersed them throughout the dormitories to the single Airmen.

Thanks to those volunteers and bakers, Airmen will get to a touch of holiday warmth this holiday season, despite the cold temperatures. 

(Courtesy of 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

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