We sat down with our very own Erin Deville-Brown (JBCMFR Financial Counselor) as she gave us a brief history on how this event came to be and how it has grown with the support of Navy Wives Club.
When asked how it started, Deville-Brown lit up as she told the story; “It was essentially born because we wanted to ensure that those Service Members that maybe can’t afford to go home for the holiday or were on 2nd rotation stand down didn’t feel like they were forgotten. We wanted to give them a little bit of home and remind them that we appreciate and see them all.”
The Cookie Caper has been going on for almost 10 years. In 2012 four JBCMFR staff members were talking about how when they were stationed elsewhere (overseas) on boats/ships, they used to invite single service-members (usually the crew that they were in charge of/mentored) to all of their holiday dinners (Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter) and if they had to stand watch they would pack plates and deliver to them.
Ms. Deville-Brown wanted to build upon some of that holiday spirit that had already been going on; but on a larger scale; “We were trying to think of how we could help the Service Members here in Charleston. Obviously we were not able to cook for two thousand students, so we came up with the Cookie Caper idea. That first year we baked and baked and baked all different kinds of cookies, brownies and other types of treats and then we bagged and bagged and bagged them all.” Four staff members provided hundreds of bags of cookies for the base population for those first few years. Each year more folks wanted to help out- they even had a grandmother send cookies from Washington because her grandson attended school the year before and he told her about it.
Eventually the reinforcements came in, and took this event to an entirely new level. The Navy Wives Club volunteered to provide support and now it has grown to where they provide the entire purchase of cookies and bags. The bagging and delivery is still done by some JBCMFR staff and volunteers due to the sheer volume of cookies.
Today, the Cookie Caper has a large reach with extensive coordination made with Command Leadership at NNPTC/DTP, single/GEO Bachelor barracks, NHCC, NMC, NSA, SPAWAR, NAVCONBRIG and they even went the extra mile to get the number of single service members and made surprise deliveries.
It is clear to see that Brown and the Navy Wives Club are proud of the way this event has grown. “Here we are 9 years later, and I am glad I am still here to participate and hopefully now everyone has a better understanding about why this is such a special event for the center and installation.”
If you are interested in volunteering in this event next year or in future volunteer opportunities, please e-mail email@example.com