Cookie Crunch brings holiday cheer to single Airmen, far and near

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley N. Steffen)

DAVIS MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  — Like elves in Santa’s workshop, volunteers worked hard to package cookies for the annual Cookie Crunch at D-M AFB Dec. 7.

Cookie Crunch is a holiday event where donations of cookies are collected by the Officers’ Spouses’ Club, allowing on and off-base community participation; the bags are then distributed to single Airmen who live in the base dorms.

The base collected cookie donations, and volunteers packaged them in bags that were decorated by the School Age and Youth Programs, Ventana Vista and Cienega High School Key Clubs and other volunteers on base.

“It was great to know that some people took time out of their day to bake cookies for those of us in the dorms,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Dylan Nygren, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron fire truck mechanic.  “It is a small gesture of kindness that really makes a big difference to us Airmen in the dorms.”

During the holiday season, families come together to celebrate the holidays. Unfortunately, not everyone will be heading home this year.

“The cookies give Airmen a little bit of home-baked spirit,” said Jennifer Thompson, wife of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. James Thompson, 355th Dental Squadron director of operations and deputy commander.

There are more than 700 young Airmen residing in the base dorms.

“This event raises morale among our Airmen in the dorms by providing holiday cheer with homemade cookies,” said Vivian Vralsted, Cookie Crunch chairwoman and wife of Capt. Bryan Vralsted, 355th Medical Operations Squadron mental health flight commander. “Some of these Airmen may be spending their first holiday away from family.”

Approximately 12,000 cookies were collected and distributed this year.