Just a quick note to tell you how much I appreciate all that you do. Until I started chairing this group, I had no idea how much work you all put into each and every mailing.
I also wanted to thank you in advance for doing mailings during this busy holiday time. I realize we all have so much on our plates at this time, but I can't think of a period that would be harder on our soldiers than Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you ever have any suggestions for improvements in this operation, I am open to them all. No promises I can make them happen, but it's worth a look.
Fran here....thought I would drop in for a minute to pass this info on....
I was reading the Plain Dealer today and came across an article with some sweet tips about shipping to those in the military. Here is the link if you need some ideas.
I trust you all are having a wonderful beginning to a summer that is sure to fly by! Please know that your dedication is appreciated by so many. You may not get a note of thanks every time, but when you do, know that it represents a world of thanks from MANY others!
As many of you know, Fran stepped down as the organizer of OHBakes after much thought & prayer, and turned over leadership to two capable women, Kelli Norris (myself) and Kris Knisely.
Fran is spending increasingly more time at the Family Ministry Center, in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood of Cleveland, http://outreachconnections.org/bsfmc/ and between this and her regular job, she felt it time to let someone else take us forward.
Kris got involved with OHBakes when she read about Fran in the paper and was inspired to join. She is a VERY part time realtor with time on her hands, so this is perfect. She had a nephew who served in Iraq, saw how hard it was on her sister and decided she needed to do something somehow. Kris has a very soft spot for soldiers and their huge sacrifice, like all of us. She live in Columbus and have a great husband and two grown kids.
As for myself, a friend gave me the info for OHBakes one day and I loved the organization from the start! Soldiers & Veterans have a soft spot in my heart because my step-dad is one so I’ve grown up a nice chunk of my life around Veterans as well as a significant number of guys I graduated with are in the service now! I also live in the Columbus area and spend my time between work, church, taking online courses, and spending time with my boyfriend and dog!
We're looking forward to this awesome journey with you guys!
If anybody ever has any questions, wants to bake, or has a soldier for us to bake for, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thank you & God Bless,
Just a note of appreciation for the bake goods you and your group sent my son while he was deployed.
He (Jerry) arrived safely back in the United States 2 weeks ago.
Thank you and your group ever so much.
I am trying to resolve what I can, not sure how long it will take. I am receiving YOUR emails, but it is very frustrating to not be able to get a reply to many of you.
Sorry for any inconvenience.
.....you recently sent me some goodies and i just wanted to thank you !!! it means alot to me . even tho home is so far away little things mean so much ....... If you ever have the chance to send things over to afganistan or iraq please do.. My first deployment i went there and packages are treated like gold.. Its amazing how much just a picture of Ohio or a newspaper means over there.. Kinda keeps ya remembering how things are back home.Once again thank so much for the gifts for me and my fellow troops !!!! you keep us going !!! THANK YOU !!!!
Jennie also received a letter From Jeff that said "The care package was very thoughtful and well appreciated by all of us. Comfort food is always a good thing.
We will be going home soon, so thank you again."
"Rubin says to please tell all of the "Gals" that the boxes arrived in great shape and he and his buddies are overwhelmed with the love and thoughtfulness that went into packing each one. They all send their love and thanks."
Just go a message from him this AM that was written 7 hrs ago- he was back at Co. Hqtrs. for a short while- and had gotten everything!!! He couldn't stop thanking for all the good baked goods and good AMERICAN food that you and your bakers had sent. He shared with his group and they all appreciated it more than any of us will ever realize. They all were SO happy!!!!!
I'm pleased to report all packages arrived intact--over 80 in all. And they came just in time, as our post office is reducing operations, and delivery of incoming mail to this location will cease in the very near future.
On behalf of our entire Task Force here at COB Speicher, i wish to again thank the selfless individuals who purchased the items, baked the cookies, packed the boxes and paid for the postage. We are truly humbled by your generosity and heartened by your concern for our well-being.
Captain, Medical Service Corps
task Force 256th Combat Support Hospital
Our grandson, Christopher, is home from the UAE, safe and sound. He still talks about all the baked goods he received and how he was able to share them with others. It sure made a lot of them happy.
Thank you so very much - and all that take part in the program. It’s people like you that make the deployment tolerable.
Jennie, one our bakers has received this email from her friend, Maureen, one of this months soldiers-
Oh my goodness I can't even BEGIN to tell you how excited everyone has been with the boxes of cookies. I have been begged for more of your orange cookies, and for someone's (can't remember who) peanut butter cookies. And I thought one girl was going to tackle me for the container of icing you sent with the cupcakes.
Tell everyone who has sent items THANK YOU! I and my Marines are LOVING them.
part of an email I received....
"I did receive many packages filled with cookies and other treats from Operation Baking Girls a few months ago. Needless to say, I wasn't able to eat all the contents myself, so shared them with other soldiers in my unit. The cookies were delicious, and much appreciated. On behalf of the soldiers of the 256th Combat Support Hospital, I wish to extend my sincerest appreciation to your group for its kindness and consideration. Thank you again for thinking of us here in Iraq." Colonel Dr. Ed Deputy Commander for Clinical Services
"The days are counting down in the 50 range. Things here are busy and very kinetic, but I wanted to let you know we received 18 packages from the group today and WOW, were we happy. I also wanted to thank you for taking time to write, it really means a lot to me.
Words do little to express what gratitude we have to everyone that has contributed. Please let them know, we truly appreciate all the love, effort & support they made to make this deployment a bit easier and meaningful! Take care!
"I shared the cookies, brownies,and muffins with the other soldiers in our unit--they were delicious and very welcome, since we'd long since run out of Christmas goodies. Thank you again for thinking of us here in Iraq. The kindness, concern, and gratitude of those we've come here to defend (the American people) make our sacrifice worthwhile." Colonel Edward H. Deputy Commander for Clinical Services Task Force 256
"I spoke to Alex on Thursday and he said he’s received cookies! He’ll be sharing them with his troops and says “thanks” so much! (He’s a man of few words!) As his mom, I really appreciate the efforts of the bakers! It’s comforting to know that you’re keeping my son and the rest of the soldiers in your thoughts and prayers!"
quite a surprise and everyone enjoyed the packages. I really
appreciate the support of the Ohio Bakers - actually everyone who got
to share this with me does! We really appreciate a piece of home .
Thank you for the well wishes and support.
Your proud soldier,
SPC Geoff Correa
We recently received this email from one of our soldiers, Ryan.
My son, Ryan told me just emailed me to tell you how much they all appreciated the cookies and brownies you sent.
The soldiers in his unit have been working very hard. They are not on a base and so the food has been pretty poor to this point! Sometimes they get back to their camp and there is no food for them. They were all excited to receive the good homemade food you sent.
Thank you for baking for the MP 447th unit!
Penny and Tom
Also from Joe (the father of Russ)
"......THANK YOU VERY MUCH for making his Christmas very tasty.........
I’m Jan and your group sent cookies to my Jim this month.(November Group 3) I can’t tell you how thrilled he was to receive them!
He received 3 or 4 boxes at the beginning of the month. Then he had to go out on some missions up in the mountains. At that time, he took a turkey and fixings plus a box of “his home made” cookies to share with his soldiers. As this group was far up in the mountains, they were sure they would not have a Thanksgiving dinner let alone ‘real” cookies.
Upon his return to base camp, he found several more boxes of cookies. He called his wife to tell her about them. She said it was the first time in a long time she heard laughter in their conversation.
Your thoughtfulness brings much joy to these soldiers and their families. God bless you and all the bakers working on your project.Sincerely,
From Matt (Our December soldier-Group 1)
"I just recieved your care package. I just wanted to say thank you so much it was really nice of you to take time out of your day and think of us! There are 41 Firefighters here with me who all wanted to say thanks! We are all enjoying the great baking you have sent here. Can you please inform anyone else who may have helped with this package that it has arrived and we are all very thankful!! Once again Thank you, your support really means alot to us!"
From Matt's mom Betsy
"I just received an email from Matt about the wonderful cookies, slim jims, cakes, peanuts, etc... he said they have received care packages before from military support groups but this was so much better then they have ever received. He wanted to know if I knew who sent them since the [some of the] boxes were from Westlake, so close to home. .......I too can not thank you enough. It brings tears to my eyes to think how very thoughtful you are to think of my Matt. I know how much this means to him, not being able to be home for the holidays. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart."
Scott and his unit were kind enough pass on their appreciation to our bakers!!!
It reads, "In recognition of your generous contributions to 1-137th Delta Company Assault Helicopter battalion. We greatly appreciate your support to our Troops in the fight. Your thoughtfulness has brought an outlet to many service members as they serve away from their families and homes. We are proud to serve the wonderful citizens of out nation."
Thank you Scott!! It's our pleasure.
Also from the parents of Kevin Quinn, one of our October airmen comes word that Kevin and his fellow servicemen were thrilled with the packages. He was able to share with others at a distant outpost. His dad said as one of a few Air Force on an Army base, the cookies made him a popular guy!
Hi Baking Gal's of Ohio :^D
My son, Marine Corporal Tyler Kantorowski was one of your featured soldiers for the month of June.
Tyler is in Iraq and is part of the CLB-4 Combat Engineer Division.
He called me on Monday (8/10) and was so overwhelmed with gratitude for the 8 boxes of cookies he received that day, he told me one of the rules is when you receive a package you have to empty it from the box and take the contents out immediately and put them into a plastic bag and burn the box with all addresses that it was packaged in. He said he couldnt believe it, EIGHT boxes in one day, and 3 of the ladies had packaged their goods together in one box so that was 10 bakers and dozens and dozens of cookies. He said the boxes were all dated June, the most current with a date of June 20th - so since they have been on the road working these packages took 7-10 weeks to catch up with him. He said he copied down as many names as he could before the boxes and packaging were taken away to be burned and wanted to give a heartfelt shout out to: ...
all the ...wonderful bakers that singled him out and made his life a lot brighter that day and many days to follow before the sweets ran out.
Ty said he was immediately surrounded by all the guys looking to see what he had received and what he was sharing with them all. Tyler said it was so wonderful to have a little taste of home and they made great snacks to fill their pockets with out on the road.
Ladies, I tear up when I think of all of you baking for our troops and especially all the prayers that are sent up in their names. Thank you all. Thank you for making my son your Marine for June and for all the prayer directed right at him. Thank you for all your time and all the love and support that went into every batch of every baked good sent. Every day is such a struggle and without FAITH in our DEAR LORD I truly don't think I could have made it thus far, in fact I know I couldnt have. So thank you. :^D This Marine Mami continues to feel so very blessed and very proud of my son and all our military men and women.
Here are a few pics of Ty and his guys. (Tyler is always the tallest one out of the group) :^D
I just want to thank you very much for your cookies that you sent. One
of my fellow Captains, CPT Tony Cox, shared his care package with me and
the cookies are so good!!!!
I appreciate you taking the time to do that for the Soldiers.
With Great Respect,
3rd Brigade Combat Team
Dear Operation Baking Gals,
I would like to take this time the thank the Operation Baking Gals for the recent delivery of cookies to Eric Augustine. I can’t even explain to you how this has really picked up his spirits while deployed. It seems that he has been labeled the cookie man on the ship. This is the first time Eric has been away from home so your thoughts and gifts of cookies has been greatly appreciated. Please tell those other men and women who are involved in this project that the Augustine family has greatly appreciated your tasty treats and thoughts of those who are serving abroad. We keep all of you in our prayers.
John, Denise and Jamie Augustine
That's the title of a new book by Janie Reinart and Mary Anne Mayer. Subtitled Mothers' Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War, it has the essays of 45 mothers of U.S. service men and women, mostly from Ohio, who open their hearts and share what it feels like when your son or daughter leaves home to fight a war. A portion of the proceeds for sales of this book will be donated to ReMind.org, a Bob Woodruff Foundation initiative and to the Semper Fi Injured Marines Fund.
Gloria Frombach, the mother of our December soldier, Matt, has eloquently told her story. If you click here, it will take you to a link to the book and you can get a free sample of Gloria's essay on pg 44.
Reading these stories gives us insight to the sacrifice families like this are making every day.
Here is a thank you letter and pictures we received. I have more to post, but am running out of time!!!!
"With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I'm not sure I officially thanked you for sending a baking package to Jon. He did most certainly receive it and was so thrilled. It really made a difficult time more tolerable. I think the holidays in general were okay there, but the actual Christmas Day had some violence and I think he wasn't really mentally prepared for that.
Thank you so much for your support to our soldiers! Y'all are amazing!
It is our pleasure to be able to bring a little bit of home to someone so far away from family.
I want to share some letters and comments we have received in the last month....
again for your COOKIES
for Doug last month. God Bless you !" Laurie and Jim
Dear Baking gals,
This is Doug Weigelt writing you back to thank you all for the cookies and
thoughtfulness to go out of your way to think of us. We really enjoyed your
cookies and everybody here wants to thank you for all that your are doing in
your efforts to support the troops. The cookies were tremendous and your
generosity does not go unnoticed. I would personally like to thank you and if
there is anything you would like me or the guys to do for you back home just let
me know. I am sorry that it has taken so long for me to get back to you, it was
unfair to you ladies for me to wait this long to respond, but as you are aware
I'm sure, we don't always have the time to get online as often as we would like.
But take care and again thank you very much for your cookies and thoughts.
Thank you very much for all of the great cookies. I have to tell you, that was one of the most impressive things I have seen during my 15 months in Iraq. I have never seen so many cookies...Everyone here enjoyed them and it meant a lot to us that there are people at home that are thinking of us. I hope you have a great holiday and I can't thank you enough for what you are doing.
We continue to bake each month for a different soldier. If you would like to join our effort, please drop me an email at zimmOhio@aol.com. I will email you when we are baking. You can bake one time or each month.
I want to wish each of you a healthy and prosperous New Year.
Here is a link for important info about packing and shipping, and the customs form (which will double as your shipping label). NOTE - in Box 10- if non-deliverable, check "redirect to address below" and add "any local chaplain".
Please use a FREE Military Flat Rate Large box- available from the Post office- also get a customs form while you are there. This box costs $11.95 to ship no matter the weight and is usually much less expensive than any other box.
Add a card, as you would to a pen pal! Also, on the mailing label include Operation Baking Gals along with your name and address in the "from" line. In addition to your customs mailing label, USPS asks that to soldier's name/address info also be written directly on the box.
Here are some more personal tips from a mom who sends goodies-"Most things such as cookies, muffins, cupcakes, loaf quickbreads, I use my Seal a Meal. I seal them as far as I can without smashing them. Then pack them in a box of styrofoam peanuts. Typical way of boxing them. Oh, I also FREEZE them first!! Just to make them last a few extra days. My son said he forgot about some muffins once for 3 weeks since they were out on a mission, and they were just as fresh as freshly baked! So I don't know if it was the Seal a Meal or not. But I would say just pack them as protected as possible. Don't bother to send anything chocolate as it will melt no matter how you try it.
With the seal a meal, everything somehow is compact and able to layer things easily. So that's how I do it. Without it, it'd be a lot of packing in layers of styrofoam wrappings
I freeze then after I seal them, that way I can stack them all up in the freezer to save space. I do a lot of baking on some days and process a bunch of stuff, and then when I send out a package I pull out whatever I have in there. I also seal and freeze things like Little Debbie treat, etc.
Oh, I also, eve though it's a lot more work, seal up like individual size package. Such as 6 cookies to a pack, or 2 muffins. So in case my son is passing something out or someone is there when he's opening a package, he can just toss them cookies, muffins without giving them ALL the goodies!."
Note- I used my food vac and sucked as much air out, before they started to smash. - but didn't freeze. Please remember to NOT send any pork products or meltables- chips in cookies seem to be ok at some times of the year, but when it is summer you may want to use candy coated chips as it gets quite HOT!
We had great show of support for our soldier, Doug of Bay Village, Ohio, a fire and rescue airman stationed in Iraq. I want to send a sincere thank you to all of you who baked! We sent our soldier so much love!
I heard back from Doug's mom Laurie, after he received a couple of the first boxes.
"Yea !!!!! Doug called this morning from Iraq...he just received the
cookies in two seperate boxes....he said they were consumed within
minutes as he shared them with others. An F-18 airplane exploded on
base last night and they had been working for 11 hours controlling the
fire and haz- mat materials. He has lost 15 lbs since Sept. so the
cookies were so appreciated. I hope he will write or email you, but
do know how awesome you gals are for doing this for our military men
and women. Not only did this show Christ to Doug but it was such a
blessing to ME since last year we did Bravery Boxes and Doug was
stateside at MacDill AFB in Tampa land now someone did it for my son
this year !!!! God is GOOD....
Blessings to you and all your bakers !!!
Christmas is coming and it won't take much to bake a few dozen extra cookies for a soldier. We will be sending again before Christmas and we would LOVE for you to join our effort! Send me an email if you would like more info.
If you have a soldier you would like us to bake for in the coming months, PLEASE drop me a line.
Thanks to everyone for all the support!
Hi! My name is Fran Z and I live in Northern Ohio. I have been a member of Operation Baking Gals (started by Susan of the blog I'm Becoming DoughMessTic), a great group whose mission has been bombarding our troops overseas with homemade cookies and care packages.
Recently, you may have heard that another of our local soldiers was killed in action- Capt. Mike Medders, Jr. of Avon Lake. So heartbreaking - but Capt. Medders knew the realities he would face at war and chose to enlist anyway. Nothing less than a true American hero. I did not know Capt. Medders personally, but I went to high school with his mom, Lynn, and worked at one time with his dad, Mike.
While I was attending services for Capt Medders I had the chance to talk to a few parents of servicemen and women and told them about the mission of Operation Baking Gals. The people I talked to were so supportive of our little group and encouraged me more by telling me that a lot of soldiers actually receive very few packages from home.
That being said, I emailed Susan and received her blessing to start a more localized group. The plan is to get a group of Ohio bakers, moms, families, and any others who are interested in baking once a month, and send care packages to local servicemen and women stationed overseas. Initially we will all send to one soldier each month, with a new soldier picked each month (to see how this plays out).
If you get a free Military Flat Rate box from the post office, it cost $10.95 to ship all you can fit into the box.
So, I am looking for some volunteers.Would you join the effort?? Could you maybe bake one thing, seal it up and ship it to him? Maybe get a group together to send a box? Would you spread the word??? We all do this on the same week, so he’ll get them all about the same time. Imagine how happy all those homesick troops will be to have homemade goodies!! You can make anything you want, and you really only need to wrap it in plastic and then a freezer bag (with a piece of bread to soak up moisture) or, if you have a vacuum sealer, that would be great. It takes about 7 days for them to get packages, so bear that in mind when choosing something to bake. Cookies of all kinds, bars, even things like trail mix would work well. Anything except pork or meltables!
Please just shoot me a quick email back (zimmOhio@aol.com) letting me know if you are up for this (I really hope you are, I know we Clevelanders and Ohioans have big hearts – and hey – get the kids in on it too – make it a family affair - let them see the lift we get from giving!)
Once I hear from you, I will supply you with the address to send the goodies and any other pertinent information.
Thanks for taking the time to hear me out. I really do appreciate it. And while we may not be cheerleaders, I think this could be a really great morale boosting endeavor…don’t you agree??