Supporting the troops Niwot style

Cookie mom volunteers working hard to fill the boxes for the June shipment. 

 

Editor's Note: The Niwot Patriotic Cookie Moms will be collecting for the Rock & Rails tip jars on August 8, not on August 1, as stated in the Courier's July 31 Community Calendar.

Want to dance the evening away to some “joyful” rock and roll? Want to increase the happiness quotient by supporting our military members? You have the chance to enjoy both activities at the Aug. 8, Rock & Rails concert in Whistle Stop Park.

While Something Underground plays what band members call “joyful rock,” all tip jar proceeds from libations will go to support joy in another fashion -- the efforts of the Niwot Patriotic Cookie Moms. Their boxes of delicious homemade cookies and treats spread happiness and show appreciation to U.S. military members around the globe, and the tip jar donations help pay the shipping costs.

“We really depend on donations raised from the community to pay for shipping,” said Patty Strecker, coordinator of the effort. “Everyone bakes at home and brings things to our ‘packing parties’ to fill the boxes, but we couldn’t do nearly as much without the generous support from Niwot and the community.” 

The latest shipment of 30 boxes, sent out in June, cost the group $430.50 to mail. The group sends boxes around the major holidays—Valentine’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day and the winter celebrations, when they send out their largest packages. 

The boxes always include a letter to the service members, along with a copy of the Left Hand Valley Courier. Sometimes there are additions, such as drawings and cards from Niwot Elementary students, local Girl Scouts and children at local daycare centers. Lately, the boxes have included small individually-packaged white stars cut from retired American flags. There often is also a small flag included. 

Boxes are decorated with care by two group members, a touch that service members appreciate. An Army Major stationed “somewhere in Afghanistan” sent an email thank you that mentioned that his troops had “thoroughly enjoyed the contents…but were also impressed by the small details in the box itself. The Christmas spirit was felt in the wrapping and in the note that was included.”

“It’s the smallest things that mean the most to us and brighten our days,” a second service member wrote.

Another, deployed in Afghanistan, wrote in an email, “I read the letter and looked in the newspaper and it made my day. I could tell that people actually put effort into this box, and it was people I don’t even know. My buddies and I really appreciate the support from people back home. I can’t say thank you enough and neither can my buddies for this generous gift.”

A Marine Corps captain, stationed in Kabul, sent an email thanking the Niwot Patriotic Cookie Moms for a “very full box of really wonderful food and other items. I can’t tell you how much this means to us, for a number of reasons – one because these cookies are incredible, but moreover, because it clearly took a lot of thought on your part to send this out our way. Myself, and a lot of other Marines and other servicemen/women are, to say the least, missing home this holiday season. Getting these unexpected reminders of home is a very heart-warming experience.”

A Navy service member wrote, “Thank you so much for your very thoughtful care packages. Those sharing your packages include service members from multiple branches who have been at sea for several months. Neither package lasted long, and people were quickly digging through for their favorites. It’s easy to feel alone and far from home out on a ship, and these types of gifts go a long way to remind us that people are thinking of us far from home, and that our time away from home is appreciated.”

So at the Aug. 8 Rock & Rails, when the music and dancing starts and the need for something to drink crops up, be sure to tip generously because your tip will bring happiness and show appreciation to U.S. service members in far-flung parts of the world – all thanks to the efforts of the Niwot Patriotic Cookie Mo