Since 2009, members of Alpharetta First United Methodist Church in Georgia have shipped nearly 17 tons of Oreo cookies to U.S. military stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Soldiers send back photos of themselves enjoying this special taste of 'home."
The Oreo collection started with 1,400 packages and grew to over 10,000 in 2017. Each includes a handwritten thank you note.
(Locator: Alpharetta, Georgia)
(Pastor speaks to congregation) "I'm grateful for those who brought Oreos. Our goal is five tons of Oreos. It looks like we're getting close."
The Rev. Don Martin, Alpharetta United Methodist Church: "Today is Operation Oreo. We ask our members and people in the community to bring Oreos to send to the troops overseas."
Scott Jamison, Alpharetta First United Methodist: "In Desert Storm, mail, it was like gold. Any kind of care package, it's an appreciation, it's like somebody shaking your hand."
Carl Gilbert: "Just to receive anything from home and know that somebody that you didn't know was caring about you was very important."
Ralph Jordan, Alpharetta First United Methodist: "It's programs like this that make me proud to be part of Alpharetta First United Methodist Church and to be United Methodist."
The Rev. Don Martin: "In 2009 I was on my way to Phoenix, Arizona. I was sitting next to a soldier. I asked him while he was away, what he missed most and he said just like that, 'Oreos!' So I came back to the congregation in June and said please on Patriotic Sunday let's ramp it up and bring these troops some Oreos."
Carl Gilbert, Alpharetta First United Methodist: "Every year we have people just drop in off the street, bring in cookies. Local businesses, other churches in the area joined in. It's very well known in our community."
Beth Allain, Alpharetta First United Methodist: "When we started with Operation Oreo we just sent the cookies. But then we started to realize it's not just the cookies. We want them to know we're thinking of them, we're praying for them, we appreciate them, we want to encourage them. And so we printed up some stickers and we just asked them to write notes and people will just write notes of appreciation."
The Rev. Don Martin: "I sometimes think they appreciate the notes more than the cookies cause the notes they can keep forever and it reminds them that they're loved and respected and missed and that we want them to come home."
Ralph Jordan: "You never know when a prayer is going to have an impact. You never know where that's going to land or who that person is going to be."
Beth Allain: "It does give you a sense of pride in The United Methodist Church, knowing that as a denomination we're trying to emphasize more service to those who serve for us."
For more information, contact Alpharetta UMC directly at 770•475•5576.
This video was first posted on August 4, 2017.