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Troop bakes for troops

In one week, some Minnesota National Guard soldiers in Iraq will open four boxes, releasing the sweet aroma of home-baked chocolate chip cookies. Cub Scouts from East Grand Forks Sacred Heart school baked 20 dozen cookies Wednesday afternoon to m...

In one week, some Minnesota National Guard soldiers in Iraq will open four boxes, releasing the sweet aroma of home-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Cub Scouts from East Grand Forks Sacred Heart school baked 20 dozen cookies Wednesday afternoon to mail to troops in Iraq. About 216 warm, gooey cookies survived the sampling process to be sent to the Guard's Able Company, 2-136 Combined Arms Battalion, an infantry unit out of Bemidji and Detroit Lakes currently stationed near Fallujah, Iraq.

"One member is an East Grand Forks Police officer, so we're sending him his own box," said Mike Anderson, the Webelos Den Leader for Den 3, Pack 14's group of 13 fourth- and fifth-graders. Anderson retired last April from the same company, and works for the East Grand Forks Police Department. He loved receiving his wife Julie's "famous Anderson cookies" during his deployment to Bosnia, so he thought it would be nice to send cookies to his former unit.

"It shows a little citizenship and gets something yummy to those guys over there," Anderson said.

The plan was to bake them in the Sacred Heart kitchen after school Wednesday, decorate snowman posters, package the cookies and mail them off.

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With her cookie recipe's reputation on the line, Julie Anderson served as the kitchen manager since she works for the school. "If only it was always this fast to bake so many cookies!" she said.

It only took the eight boys about an hour from start to finish to measure and mix the ingredients, scoop dough out on sheets and bake the cookies.

"I did a little bit of everything at least once," said Robbie Powell, who said he's never baked that many cookies.

Noah Anderson, a fourth-grader, had baked 176 cookies a couple of years ago at home with another boy, he said. "This was a little bit harder because some of them had never baked cookies before and a little bit easier because everyone had something to do."

With chocolate smears around the corners of their mouths, Justin Hulst, Joel Fontaine, Ethan Jung, Jason Jordheim, and the other Cubs lined up wearing plastic aprons and gloves to package exactly 18 cookies per bag.

While the kitchen got tidied up, the Cubs showed off their posters. Brandon Kassa and Dylan Walski both claimed to have decorated the best snowman, each adorned with gaudy "bling" jewelry.

By the time the boxes were carefully packed, it was 5:15 p.m. But much to the disappointment of the six Cubs who walked a block to the East Grand Forks Post Office with warm boxes of cookies in hand, the building closed at 5.

The boxes also contained a remote controlled helicopter, letters from the Cubs to the troops and colored snowman posters. The boxes should arrive by March 1.

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Decker can be reached at (701) 787-6754, (800) 477-6572, ext. 754, or cdecker@gfherald.com .

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