Farmington's annual cookie walk fundraiser has become a holiday tradition for the Jones familyMike Jones knows what it’s like to be a deployed soldier worrying about your family. When he was in the Army he served tours in the first Gulf War and in Bosnia. His wife, Jennie, has a pretty good idea what it’s like to be a military family, too. Her father served, and she grew up moving from base to base. That’s at least part of the reason the Farmington family has become a big fan of the Farmington Yellow Ribbon Network’s annual cookie walk fundraiser.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Mike Jones knows what it’s like to be a deployed soldier worrying about your family. When he was in the Army he served tours in the first Gulf War and in Bosnia.
His wife, Jennie, has a pretty good idea what it’s like to be a military family, too. Her father served, and she grew up moving from base to base.
That’s at least part of the reason the Farmington family has become a big fan of the Farmington Yellow Ribbon Network’s annual cookie walk fundraiser. They see it as a chance to help local families whose loved ones are deployed, and to reassure those men and women who are serving that there is someone at home looking out for their families.
The fact that lots of cookies are involved doesn’t hurt either.
The cookie walk asks participants to provide at least two plates of cookies. One plate gets used to make up holiday care packages for local military families. The other goes into a pool so participants can mix and match their own treats.
Participants who want to bring cookies home with them also pay $5. That money goes to Yellow Ribbon Network programs.
Jennie has been involved in the cookie walk for three years. Her husband has joined her twice. They also get their three children involved.
“I grew up with a great appreciation for the military and all they do,” Jennie said. “I want my kids to understand what the military is and what it’s doing for them.”
The family spent a day last weekend baking 60 dozen cookies for this year’s walk, scheduled to take place Dec. 9 at Rambling River Center. While the day outside was unseasonably warm, she was in the kitchen preparing a collection of chocolate chip, peanut butter thumbprints and sugar cookies, among others.
Jennie was alone in her baking this year, but most years making cookies is a family project. That by itself is nice bonding time, but the event provides its own benefits. In the past the event has been held at Trinity Terrace senior apartments, and the Jones’ kids, two sons and a daughter, helped the nursing home residents put together plates of cookies. The couple’s daughter became the event’s unofficial greeter.
The kids also helped deliver the cookies to local families. Sometimes Mike and Jennie stay in the car and let the kids go up to the door. It’s a good lesson on helping others, they said, and a reminder that military families are everywhere.
That last point can be easy to forget sometimes. Jennie grew up on bases where military families were all around and everybody knew the challenges their friends and neighbors were dealing with. Now, someone a few doors down might be going through a deployment without their neighbors ever knowing.
Making deliveries can be a moving experience. Mike and Jennie have delivered to mothers who have lost children and last year they dropped off cookies for a soldier who was dying of cancer. Sometimes they stay to chat. Other times, they just drop off the cookies and go.
“Some of them will open the door and say thank you and want to close it,” Mike said. “You get different reactions from them, but I think deep down inside they know somebody loves them and cares for them.”
Mike and Jennie both know just how valuable that can be.