Baking for the troops
A reminder of home while deployed
by Vanessa Cruz
Reporter Staff Writer
Mar 24, 2013 | 4657 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PACKAGE GOODIES – Juniors Denisse Peralta, Diana Elias, Maria Berroa, and Christina Mastropisqua separating the mint chocolate chip with the chocolate chip cookies for the troops.
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North Bergen High School’s Family Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) bakes cookies, brownies, or snickerdoodles for deployed troops every Wednesday. The organization they are affiliated with is Treat The Troops. Volunteer Jeanette Cram, who began the local program, is known as the “Cookie Lady,” while the high school’s FCCLA are known as her Crumbs. The high school has been baking cookies for five years.

Sent by the dozen

Normally, a minimum of 12 to 14 dozen cookies are sent out weekly. Teacher Marlene Sapoff began baking on her own for the organization and branched out when she took over the FCCLA.

“It’s a wonderful way of giving back,” said Sapoff. “They’re really great kids that get involved.”

Deployed soldiers make requests to the Cookie Lady, which she relays to her Crumbs.

The students not only ship cookies or other yummy goodies; they also send the troops a letter that is signed by each one of them. They often receive letters of gratitude from the troops and were given certificates of appreciation.

The troops are in for a treat, as 70 soldiers will soon receive chocolate or mint chocolate chip cookies.
“You are doing a great thing by bringing smiles to our faces.” – Army Specialist Bretton Spector
The costs of shipping and ingredients are expensive since it takes $20 weekly to ship the cookies, not including costs for the ingredients to make them. Donations can be sent to the high school at 7317 Kennedy Blvd.

Sending a reminder of home

The students in the FCCLA range from sophomores to seniors, and they understand how important it is to give back to the troops.

“It’s always nice to have a little piece of home with cookies,” said Junior Milagros Oviedo.

“It’s a reminder of home,” said Sophomore Silvia Molina.

“Cookies make everyone happy. They deserve to be happy,” said Junior Christina Mastropisqua.

The troops have shown their admiration by sending heartfelt responses.

“I received a box of your cookies. They were amazing and delicious,” said Sgt. John Mayfield via email. “I thank you very much for the time you put into making the cookies and sending them over to us. Again, thank you very much.”

“Thank you so much for the cookies,” Army Specialist Bretton Spector emailed the FCCLA. “They were amazing. There were too many for me to eat by myself so I shared them with my buddies. They have not stopped talking about them. Keep working hard in your club and good luck with your upcoming school year. You are doing a great thing by bringing smiles to our faces.”

“The men were extremely happy to receive such a gift from home,” emailed a soldier in Afghanistan back in 2010. “Thank you for the generous contributions to the welfare and morale of the men of my company, it is greatly appreciated.”

“As all of us are here on year-long deployments, being away from friends and family over the holidays can be especially trying,” read a letter from the Department of The Air Force. “Gestures such as yours always mean a lot, but even more so this time of year. Thank you for keeping us in mind; your generosity, commitment, and demonstration of support to our Armed Forces was humbling, and I am very grateful.”

“Thank you so much for the cookies and brownies,” said a card from Captain Brandy Hinton. “The soldiers gobbled them up. The holidays have been hard but little things like this make it so much better.”

For more information about Treat The Troops visit:

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at

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