The spirit still exists, but public enthusiasm is waning for "Operation Sweettooth."
In December, with Christmas being the traditional busiest time for orders for cookies to be sent to U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the project's coordinators, Roger and Diane Ahrens, sent only six boxes of the holiday treats.
"And many of those boxes went to the USO site in Bahrain airfield (in the Middle East)," Diane said. "We hardly had any orders this Christmas. Maybe people are getting too used to the project."
The Ahrens own the Piece-A-Cake Bakery in East Dundee. For seven years, they have been shipping cookies and Rice Krispie Treats to Dundee Township area residents in the military and stationed in the war zones.
When they started their project, they mailed from 15-17 boxes during December. Families of the soldiers ordered the cookies and paid for the postage. The North River Street business owners, baked them, wrapped them individually, and mailed them to the military men and women.
"We put 75 sugar, chocolate chip, and oatmeal raisin cookies, and Rice Krispie Treats in each box," Diane said. We wanted the people receiving them to be able to share them with the people they are will."
Christmas wasn't the only time the confections were ordered.
"We received orders all year and for all different occasions: birthdays, Valentine's Day," Diane said. "One time we sent cookies to a father who was stationed overseas. It was a baby announcement; his wife had twins."
The couple knows how important it is to receive packages from home. Both of them served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Remembering the excitement of opening her mail, they vowed to continue with "Operation Sweettooth" until the troops are home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We still have troops in Iraq, and we have troops in Afghanistan," she said. "I've promised to continue this until they are home. I don't want them to think they are forgotten. I know what it's like to be hot and tired. I've received thank-you notes from many of the soldiers. I know that their whole moods change by receiving the packages."
The program will continue in 2013.
"I'll keep going until they are home."
To order cookies or to make a donation to "Operation Sweettooth" call the bakery at (847) 836-6703.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.