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Treats give 'taste of home' over holidays

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Beth Orlen
  • 314th Airlift Wing Strategic Information Flight
Every year after Thanksgiving my mother would scrape together as much money as she could to make dozens of cookies and treats for the upcoming holidays. The flour would fly and the house took on the most wonderful aroma as she whipped up snowball cookies, chocolate-peanut butter fudge, gingerbread men and several other types of holiday goodies. Just seeing all of the finished sweets made me realize I was home, and it was Christmas time.

This year more than 400 Airmen will not be able to get a chance to travel back home this holiday season, but the men and women of Little Rock Air Force Base and the surrounding communities are giving them a taste of home Dec. 13 and 24 with the base's annual Cookie Drive.

Tracy Watson, one of the Cookie Drive volunteers, is excited to participate in this year's drive. "I just like to feel we are giving them a taste of home, and they deserve them," she said. "(The Airmen) work so hard, and I feel like doing my part to give a little something to them as a way to say thank you."

During the drive each dormitory Airman will receive an assortment of a dozen home-baked cookies and treats, but where exactly do the goodies come from?

All over actually, according to Tech. Sgt. Michele Bortvit, the 314th Airlift Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant's assistant and drive volunteer. "We collected more than 900 dozen cookies last year," she said, and more than 125 dozen came from the base Retiree Office.

"They brought a minivan full of cookies!" said Sergeant Bortvit, who originally thought they had just brought a few trays.

But it wasn't just base members and retirees that provided the treats. A couple of churches from off base provided cookies, as well as other community members, said Mrs. Watson. "The community is unbelievably generous. When people find out what we are doing, a lot of people want to say thank you (as well)."

That's why the children of Eastside Middle School in Cabot, Ark., decorated the more than 500 bags that the holiday treats will be delivered in this year, according to school officials.

"Even the teachers are going to bake cookies for the drive," said Mrs. Watson.

This year, drive members hope to repeat last year's success.

"We need to get at least 450 dozen cookies (for the) Airmen living in the dorms," said Mrs. Watson. But no goodie will go to waste, she said. Whatever treats are left over from the Dec. 13 delivery will be frozen and taken to the Airmen working 24-hours operations Dec. 24.

So, as you are making that batch of gooey marshmallow treats this weekend, think about making a few more to help bring something special to others so far from home.

How You Can Participate
- Bake or cook up 12 holiday goodies
- Place them in a bag
- Drive to the base Conference Center Dec. 13
- Drop off the cookies with the volunteers (You don't even have to get out of your car.)