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The Strength Behind The Strong was founded by Christine Hofmann-Bourque, who is proud to have a husband in the Army, three brothers in the Navy and Army, and a sister-in-law in the Army. Christine is also a professional journalist. Read our first post to find out why this website is so close to her heart. More >>

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Operation Cookie Overload: Will you help a Marine mom make her deployed son’s Christmas merry and bright?

It seems appropriate on this Veterans Day to ask for your help for our newest project supporting some of our youngest men in uniform. Many, many of you have emailed us to ask how you can send cookies to some of our troops this holiday season. Here’s your chance. Judy, a Marine mom, has a 19-year-old son, Solomon, serving on the front lines in Afghanistan. She says: 

The unit my son is with has endured a lot of injuries and loss of these selfless young men. It is heartbreaking to see these families go through these ordeals let alone what these brave young men are enduring on a daily basis. I cannot imagine! ... I am asking for your help in making these young heroes have a nice holiday. ... I am very proud of my son and his fellow comrades.

In the spirit of the season, we’re launching Operation Cookie Overload. Let’s get baking and let Judy’s son and his fellow Marines know that we’ve got them in our thoughts. 

Now, the nitty-gritty (and sugary) details:

  1. Sign up! To participate, send us a private email with your complete name and address. (Email us at or use this secure form.) We’ll then email you this young Marine’s name and the military address to send your box of edible goodies. 
  2. Take OPSEC seriously. An important reminder: Because these Marines are in a war zone, privacy and security is a top priority. Do not post this Marine’s name or address online or elsewhere. OPSEC (Operations Security) is something we take seriously. 
  3. Send only edible items. These Marines are always on the move, so they don’t need extra holiday trinkets to lug around. Judy requests that you send boxes full of food items only.  
  4. Bake or shop. Homemade cookies are great, but don’t forget about all the other holiday treats that fill the stores this time of year. The commissary at Hanscom Air Force Base where we shop is filled with all sorts of goodies, like candy-cane Oreo cookies (yum!) and powdered-sugar-covered Pferreneusse. Store-bought treats like these are big favorites of our troops, and they’ll stay fresh much longer than home-baked versions.
  5. Send enough to share! Judy’s son will be sharing all these goodies with his fellow Marines, so send enough to pass around. Where sweets are concerned, the more, the merrier!
  6. Mail your box soon. The deadlines for guaranteed mail delivery to military overseas addresses by December 25th is fast approaching. For this particular address, Priority Mail must be sent by December 10th. Parcel Post must be sent by November 12th. (We harp on this a lot, and we’ll do it again: Parcel Post is slower than molasses. So if you’re sending homemade Giant Molasses Cookies, don’t use Parcel Post. The cookies will most certainly arrive stale. Only use Parcel Post if you’re sending store-bought items with a long shelf life.)
  7. You are responsible for shipping costs. Our best advice is pick up your mailing boxes first, then buy and bake items that fit into it. Because cookies and food can add up weight-wise, the least expensive way to ship is likely a Priority Mail Large Flat Rate box. It normally costs $14.95 to ship, but when you’re mailing it to an APO/FPO military address, it will only cost $12.95 no matter how much it weighs. A Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate box will cost $10.95 to ship. 
  8. Get packing tips. The nice folks at Taste of Home magazine did a terrific story on The Strength Behind the Strong — with tons of great military care package tips — in the new November issue (page 80). Check out our video too!
  9. Snap some pictures. We’d love to know what goodies you're sending. So send us some pictures of you and your family baking and assembling your boxes. We’d love to post them here on our website.

Finally, be sure to include a card in your care package. Go ahead and tell these Marines a little about yourself. But don’t hold your breath waiting for a written thank you. These Marines are understandably busy with life-and-death situations. But you’ll know that you’ve sent some young Marines a piece of Christmas from home. And that’s one of the best gifts you can give this season.

No, this isn't a photo of the Marines who’d love cookies! But it’s two of my favorite vets, my husband, Kyle, and his battle buddy during two tours to Iraq, Rich. Happy Veterans Day to all who have served or are serving.


Reader Comments (2)

Hi, I sent your website to We have over 15,000 members, and I am hoping someone will help out with some baking for the troups. I intend to do this, and thank you for all that you are doing for your Son and the other troups.

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLois

I wanted to apologize for misspelling troops....I am sorry.

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLois

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