Operation Baking Gals

Thursday, December 11, 2008

That special project that I mentioned the gingerbread cookies were a part of? This is it.

Operation Baking Gals.

Later today, this package will be shipped out. Wayyyy out. All the way to Afghanistan. It will be delivered to a soldier who is unable to celebrate the holidays with his wife and baby boy this year. He has been serving our country overseas since June.

I became involved with this project through Melissa over at Hot Stuff in the Kitchen. Melissa was a fellow June 21 bride, so we've "known" each other for a while now. A few weeks ago, before Thanksgiving, she e-mailed me and asked if I would like to be a member of her Baking Gals team.

I immediately agreed. As you're all probably aware by now, I love to bake, and I can't think of a better cause to bake for. Our soldier, Brian (aka "Bubba") will receive at least 10 packages of goodies from our team. A little piece of home and the holidays that he will be able to share with his soldier buddies.

I took this on as another one of my "give back" activities. Whether or not you agree with the war, these guys are still over there for us while we get to stay here safely with our friends and family.

Brian will be receiving about a dozen pumpkin cookies, as well as more than a dozen gingerbread cookies. I also included baggies of animal crackers. I'm hoping everything makes it all the way to the Middle East in a state that is still edible. Here's hoping. I double wrapped everything, and also used a little trick from the Baking Gals website, including pieces of apple peel in the bags to keep stuff fresh. I'm crossing my fingers that it works.

We were encouraged to write letters about ourselves and include pictures, blog and e-mail addresses, etc. So I typed up a little page about myself and my family, including a few pictures. I also enclosed a handwritten holiday card, thanking Brian for the sacrifices he has made for all of us here at home.

We're also supposed to take pictures of ourselves with our boxes to share with the Baking Gals site. So that's what you see above.

Today, I will go to the post office and pay just $10.95 to send Brian his sweet treats. As it turns out, all you have to do to ship this stuff is go pick up a large, flat rate Priority Mail box from USPS. I got it at one of my local post offices. You can put as much crap as you can possibly fit in there, and it'll still only cost $10.95. It regularly costs $12.95, but they give a discount if you are sending it to an APO/FPO (military) address.

OK, so now onto the next thing. Guess what? Operation Baking Gals isn't just a holiday project. It runs all year round. So this is what I want to do: I want to start a team! It'll be my first time as a Team Leader/Host.

I've been told by Susan, the Operation Baking Gals founder/coordinator, that the next round of shipping will likely be between January 30 and February 9. You can send your package anytime during this time period. The goal is to have the soldiers receive their boxes in time for Valentine's Day.

You have to sign up for a team to participate in Operation Baking Gals, and I'd love for as many readers as possible to join me. The Round 6 (Valentine's Day) sign-up isn't available yet, and probably won't be for several more weeks. I'll be sure to post the information here once it is available so that anyone who is interested can sign up. In the meantime, if you are interested, can you please leave a comment so that I can get a feel for how many people I'm going to have?

Oh, and also--don't bake? Don't worry. You don't have to bake to participate. As you can imagine, there are a lot of things from home that the soldiers appreciate having. There is a long list of store-bought stuff that is appropriate for sending. If that's up your alley, you can sign up, too. You'll get all of the info about what types of things to send once we're prepping for the next round.

Lastly, and most importantly... I'm putting out a call for a soldier. I'm lucky to not have anyone I know and love deployed (at least not right now). As a result, I don't have an automatic choice for a soldier to send our baked goods to. But I know--from some of the blog comments I've received in the past--many of you do have loved ones over there. If you do, and you'd like me to consider him or her as our team's soldier, please leave a comment or e-mail me directly at roadtotheaisle@gmail.com. Tell me how you know them, how long they've been gone, and anything else that you think I'd like to know about this person.

If I receive more than one request, it's not a problem. I plan to continue participating as a Team Leader/Host in Operation Baking Gals for every round moving forward. So if we can't bake for your girl/guy this time, I'll be sure to try to get them in for a subsequent round. Sound good? Oh, but one important thing to note--you must have an APO/FPO address for this soldier. We need to be able to make sure our packages are going to arrive where intended!

So, please consider joining me. And again, if you do want to join me, please leave a comment that you're interested in Round 6.

43 comments:

Mrs B. December 11, 2008 at 12:48 PM  

It would be great if a friend of mine from high school was considered. He is currently serving in Afghanistan, and he has about six more months to go. I will update this comment with more information on him as soon as I can get his address.

What a great idea Heather!

Cassidy December 11, 2008 at 1:27 PM  

Hey Heather-
I'm Casperdy from the June 08 board. Love reading your blog! I would not only be interested in baking, but I have a fabulously deserving soldier. My MOH just got engaged 2 weeks ago to her boyfriend of several years who was home from Iraq for 2 weeks of rest and relaxation. He is back in Iraq now for another 7.5 months and will return a few short months before his September wedding! Let me know if you want to send him cookies!

Chelsey,  December 11, 2008 at 1:42 PM  

Heather,

I'd love to be in on this! How fun, and what a wonderful idea! I'll be watching for the sign up!

Chelsey

Dana December 11, 2008 at 1:54 PM  

Hi Heather! I would LOVE to be on your team for the next round, and continue on with you. I have been looking for a way to give back to the soldiers, and this is right up my alley! My email is dana.repka@gmail.com, I'll help ASAP!

Heather December 11, 2008 at 2:28 PM  

I would love to be on your team!

What a great idea! My husband's friend may be serving soon. I keep reminding him - get an address so I can send him baked goods. :)

Nikki,  December 11, 2008 at 2:58 PM  

Heather,

I would love to be a part of your team as well! This is such a fantastic idea and I look forward to it!
My email: Soon2BMrsH at gmail dot com

Laura December 11, 2008 at 4:12 PM  

Count me in for being on your team. I'm the daughter of a retired Army major, so I would love to do my part to help. I also LOVE to bake, too. This will be great. My e-mail at laurablue8 @ gmail dot com

Jen December 11, 2008 at 4:30 PM  

Hey Heather, I'm definitely interested! This is such a wonderful idea :). I'll be watching for the sign-up post!

Bridgit December 11, 2008 at 4:34 PM  

What a great idea! Keep us posted on the next date. I'll be glad to join your team.

Vanessa December 11, 2008 at 4:36 PM  

Hi Heather,
I live in Europe but I was so so touched by this. I am British and feel so close to this cause. The As far as I know such a scheme doesn't exist in England, and I'm living in France so couldn't gather anyone right now, but I would love to send pacakages to an American soldier. Would this be possible? Please let me know because I would love to get involved. I'd also like to enquire about setting this up in England once I get back in March. I love to bake and can pledge my commitment going forward indefinitely.
Thanks for the inspiration - simply wonderful.
Vanessa

Hailey December 11, 2008 at 4:50 PM  

Count me in! My sister-in-law loves to bake too, so I will see if she can participate as well.
I have a friend whose brother is overseas. I just emailed her to get more info...

Melissa December 11, 2008 at 5:17 PM  

Id love to help out, as the non baking one :) Count me in! What a great idea Heather!

Sara December 11, 2008 at 5:38 PM  

I would love to be included in your baking team! I'm getting married in Jan to my high school sweetheart, who is a naval officer due to deploy in March. I think this is such a great idea and I would love to be a part of it!

Keira December 11, 2008 at 5:41 PM  

I would love to be a part of your team. I have been silently stalking your blog and love seeing your adventures with baking.

Thanks,
Keira

MichelleO December 11, 2008 at 7:51 PM  

Hi Heather,
I just mailed a BakingGals package out earlier this week! I had seen a random post on the Nest and decided it was something I really wanted to do. I would really like to continue throughout the year, so please count me in for Round 6!

My Dream Ring December 11, 2008 at 8:42 PM  

Heather what a great project. This made me cry, I just love hearing when people give out of the kindness of their hearts.

Amber Bass December 11, 2008 at 8:49 PM  

Heather, I would love to participate in this. please tell me what I can do to participate. My email address is amberavon1@yahoo.com .

Robin December 11, 2008 at 8:51 PM  

Hi Heather- I would love to help! Please count me in as part of your team :)

Heather,  December 11, 2008 at 9:38 PM  

Hi Heather!

I've been an avid reader of your blog for about 8 months. I think this is a great cause and I'd love to be part of it! Count me in!

Michelleigh December 11, 2008 at 10:02 PM  

Another trick for keeping cookies fresh? Put pieces of bread into whatever container you're keeping the cookies in. They'll stay nice and soft (but the bread will get really hard). :)

Heather December 11, 2008 at 10:13 PM  

Michelleigh--Actually, the bread trick is not good for these types of shipments. Apparently, the bread ends up arriving completely moldy. Ick.

Deanna,  December 12, 2008 at 1:05 AM  

Hi Heather, I have been an avid reader of your blog, in fact, your is the first one I have actually followed! My husband (we just got married 8-15-08) retired from the USMC in March, after serving 22 years. After countless YEARS overseas and serving 4 tours in Iraq he is finally home safe and sound. When he was over seas I did the same thing, send those boxes stuffed with backed goods. It usually got to him within 5 days. but let me tell you, not only did my husband love the treats, his whole team looked forward to my boxes. They appreciated it soo very much. They enjoyed the letters and treats. What your doing is a great great thing, and like you said, even if you don't agree with the out going President, our men and women deserve our love and respect.

Heather I would be honored to be apart of this. Please email me with any information at ddmitsch@msn.com

ktmac32 December 12, 2008 at 9:50 AM  

Heather,
I'd love to be apart of your team. My email is kt_mac32@yahoo.com.

Mands,  December 12, 2008 at 10:43 AM  

Hi Heather,

I'm getting a mixer for Christmas (early since I'm getting it this weekend) and I would love to put it to use and help out with this. This is such a wonderful thing to do for our soldiers. Please consider me for your next round.

penguin930@cox.net

Julianne December 12, 2008 at 12:00 PM  

Hi Heather!

You definitely don't know me, but my sister and I are avid readers of your blog and would love to help out! My best friend and his newly pregnant wife (both of them are 20 years old) have both done one year in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively. Every little bit helps them feel connected to home. Please leave details soon!

Julie

jennifer lynn December 12, 2008 at 12:29 PM  

Count me in! I see you already have an overwhelming response, but I'd love to be a part of this! Let me know when you have the details : )

jmkv531@comcast.net

Kim,  December 12, 2008 at 2:14 PM  

Hi Heather, I'd love to join your baking team! I love to bake but hate to have cookies sitting around the house tempting me to eat them...this is the perfect reason to bake for a good cause (and get the cookies out of the house to someone who'll really appreciate them)!

I'm getting married on February 7, so Round 6 might be a little hard for me to do with the last-minute wedding stuff that I'm sure I'll be busy with...but I'd love to be included if you do it again in the next round!

houarch December 12, 2008 at 2:37 PM  

I'd love to help out - count me in!

Also - just want to say I love reading your blog. I have used quite of few of your projects from Road to the Aisle as inspiration for my upcoming April 2009 wedding - Thanks!


houarch@yahoo.com

Janna M.,  December 12, 2008 at 3:24 PM  

Hey Heather, I love to bake as well and would love to be able to participate in such a great cause! I visit your blog on a regular basis so I will be on the look-out for the registration info!

Megan H.,  December 12, 2008 at 3:42 PM  

Hey Heather,
I've been reading you blog for quite awhile-- I would LOVE to do this. I love to bake and these seems like such a good cause. Count me in for the next round.

Julia,  December 12, 2008 at 3:43 PM  

Heather - I am interested as well!

Linda December 12, 2008 at 4:32 PM  

Hey, Heather. I'm interested too!

Amanda December 12, 2008 at 8:45 PM  

I would love to help out with this! What a fabulous idea and I can't wait to start baking to help.

Rebecca December 12, 2008 at 9:58 PM  

I would love to do this! I love to bake but have nobody to bake for so its great for me.

Carrie December 13, 2008 at 12:39 PM  

I would love to do this! I'll be checking back in. I think it is a wonferful way to give back! My brother is signing up for the Air Force this week.

Lorena December 13, 2008 at 1:28 PM  

Hi Heather! Long time reader, first time leaving a comment. I just want to say that i have followed and prayed for your family during tough times since you began 'Road to the aisle'. I would love to be apart of your team. Here is my contact information. Lorena.Lopez@kohls.com

Alison December 13, 2008 at 1:30 PM  

Hi! I would love to help, but will have to sit this round out as I am currently in S. Korea without an oven :) I will be back in the States in March, though, and would love to help with any future projects, so I you would continue to keep posting that would awesome!! Thanks so much, this is a great idea!

Anonymous,  December 13, 2008 at 4:37 PM  

Heather,

I just started reading your blogs...If you are still looking for help, I would love to be a part of this! Please email me at
Juls3312131978@aol.com

Happy Holiday,
Julie

bidda December 13, 2008 at 10:10 PM  

I've been reading your blog, but never commented before now. I too am part of something like this, except I can't bake if my life depended on it. I got involved with Operation Minnesota Nice. We get the addresses from fellow soldiers who see that these particular men and women don't receive letters, packages etc...it feels great to be apart of such a great cause. I send about 25 packages a month.

Katy December 14, 2008 at 4:04 PM  

This is wonderful! I would love to be included!

Shauna,  December 15, 2008 at 3:01 PM  

I'd like to be involved in the next round serobbin AT indiana DOT edu. Thanks!

amybyrd December 15, 2008 at 8:29 PM  

Heather I put this on your other post but my brother's best friend is in Iraq on his second tour so if your team could adopt him that would be great
Amybyrd(June 08 board)

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