GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Over 40 volunteers congregated at the Taylor Chapel to sort and bag cookies for distribution to Goodfellow students before the holidays Dec. 20.
Darlene Salomon was the coordinator for the all-volunteer event this year. It started unofficially years ago with Goodfellow spouses getting together to bake homemade cookies for the students, but this year marks the third year since it was officially deemed the “Cookie Caper.”
“Our goal is to have enough bags of cookies for each of the students across the services attending training at Goodfellow,” Salomon said. “Another goal we have this year is to provide cookies to our permanent party who live in the dormitories and aren’t going home for the holidays.”
Salomon said they had a goal of distributing 18,000 cookies this year. They were fortunate enough to not only meet but surpass that goal with over 18,000 cookies donated.
According to Salomon, the Cookie Caper is only possible with the combined efforts of the volunteers and the donations that come from local businesses, churches, schools and organizations.
Volunteers created an assembly line to bag the cookies a dozen per bag. Children from the local school even got involved this year and decorated the sides of the bags with festive artwork thanking military members for their service and wishing them Merry Christmas.
Capt. Chelsea Esenwein, 17th Training Support Squadron flight commander, spoke about why she chose to volunteer for the Cookie Caper.
“Being able to give the students a little bit back from the base is a great opportunity and I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said Esenwein. “This event represents what Goodfellow is about – giving back. We train, develop and inspire, and something as simple as giving them cookies inspires them to come back in the New Year ready to train. We’re a family here at Goodfellow.”
Jeannette Ramirez, a volunteer, also had a hand in organizing the event alongside Salomon.
“You give a military spouse a task and they bring an army,” said Ramirez about the support they received this year. “I want to thank San Angelo for everything that they’ve done to help contribute to our Cookie Caper. We’re looking forward to getting more help next year.”