Douglas High School’s culinary arts students baked 400 pumpkin- and ghost-shaped sugar cookies for U.S. military personnel Monday.
The culinary students made the cookies for Gold Star Mom Sally Wiley, who is sending Halloween-themed care packages to troops over seas.
Culinary teacher Kerry Stack said the students were eager to help when Wiley offered.
“They helped with the Sertoma Oktoberfest this year, and seemed to have a lot of fun doing it,” said Wiley. “These are a great group of kids who like to be out in the community helping. I thought, why not have them help with these care packages.”
Wiley has been sending care packages overseas since 2009 after her son, Staff Sgt. Sean Diamond, was killed in action while stationed in Iraq. Since then, Wiley has sent more than 2,000 care packages to date and at least 200 this year.
“It makes me really happy and proud. I know he would be proud,” said Wiley. “It’s a growth in the grief process and it’s fun to see the kids get involved. They seem to enjoy what they’re doing.”
She said she sends care packages for almost every holiday including Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, The 4th of July, Halloween and Christmas.
“It’s fun when it’s a holiday, it cheers them up and gives them a piece of home during the holidays,” said Wiley. “The kids who get involved seem to enjoy it too.
The culinary students added their own personal touches to the cookies. Some hand-wrote with frosting “Happy Halloween” and “Boo” while others were painted orange, green and purple topped with sprinkles.
“I know it’s just cookies, but it’s something bigger then that,” said senior Maddy Christensen. “Anything we can do to help, even if it’s small can go along way and make their day.”
“I think it’s really special to make cookies for people who are helping us,” added Sophia Bottino.
Some students have active family members or know someone in the military and said being involved brought the concept closer to home.
“It’s really close to my heart because I have family members in the military so I love doing this,” said Madison Rodgers.
In conjunction with the cookies Wiley said she has a total of 36 boxes of items to send over seas which will be packaged with the help of the Carson Valley Boys Girls Club.
“It’s a good way to get them involved and usually we have a military personnel helping who educate them about the military and what they’re getting involved in. It keeps the military in their mind and helps keep the awareness and appreciation of our military alive,” Wiley said.
Wiley sends packages to men and women who cannot be home for the holidays or who are in times of need.
The packages are usually filled with non-perishable items such as protein bars, jerky, popcorn, candy and homemade treats, ChapStick and room fresheners.
For more information, email Sally Wiley, firstname.lastname@example.org.