- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Bakers at a church in Council Bluffs have packed up their millionth cookie to send to U.S. military personnel deployed overseas.

The Iowa Cookie Crumbs at Emanuel Lutheran Church achieved the milestone Tuesday, the Daily Nonpareil (https://bit.ly/2e1TbtX ) reported.

Each month, the group sends homemade cookie shipments to U.S. troops all over the world as three teams of 50 to 60 bakers trade off kitchen duty.

Member Deann Over said Tuesday’s shipment included nearly 13,000 cookies.

Iowa Cookie Crumbs founder Abbie Crawford said extra bakers contributed to this month’s shipment, including the Treynor Junior Optimist Club, which donated 960 cookies.

Over said that the organization gets names and addresses from a national database that has requests from family members, commanders and soldiers. Cookie Crumbs members try to find out how many people are at each destination and some even write letters to send.

“The APOs (and FPOs) are so cryptic, we can’t always tell where they are going,” Over said. “They’re probably still going to Iraq and Afghanistan. Some go to ships now.” The organization will sometimes include canned food with the packages, based on the information and location.

Eleven dozen cookies go into small shipping boxes and are sent for $16.75 per box. Over said that individuals as well as organizations such as churches, service clubs and schools contribute to the shipping costs.

“It’s a totally community effort,” she said.

Crawford and 15 friends began the group nearly a decade ago in her home. Since then, the cookies have been packed at Emanuel. Crawford previously shipped cookies to service personnel in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

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