Franklin — A taste of home can go a long way, especially for active military personnel stationed overseas.
Volunteers busily packaged more than 30,000 cookies for the troops as part of the annual Books For Soldiers' "Operation Home-Bake for the Holidays."
Books For Soldiers is an online nonprofit organization dedicated to sending care packages to America's military.
Franklin has its own team of volunteers dedicated to the cause. Through a partnership with Friends of the Franklin Public Library, the group sends care packages to the troops throughout the year.
"A lot of these folks are just people who want to show support for the troops," said Karen Grochowski, organizer for the Franklin Books For Soldiers program.
Many of the volunteers are wives, mothers or siblings of active military, Grochowski said.
The volunteers met last weekend at the Franklin Public Library to package the cookies they made at home.
"The cookie thing has become an annual event for at least the past eight years," Grochowski said.
Once packaged, the cookies will be sent to military personnel found through the Books For Soldiers website or known by other community members.
"The cookies aren't going to just one place," Grochowski said. "They aren't just going to Afghanistan. We have packages being sent to Kuwait, Jordan, Spain, Korea."
For many volunteers, the need to give back to the military is instinctual.
Volunteer Holly Stangel, who has participated in Operation Home-Bake for the past six years, decided to turn her home into a temporary bakery for the troops by baking approximately 1,500 cookies over a course of two weeks.
"I'm retired and have the time to bake those cookies," Stangel said. "I'm trying to make sure the soldiers know they're wanted.
"And the house smells really good after baking," she added, smiling.
For information about care package projects, visit www.friendsofthefranklinpubliclibrary.org.
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