I came across a bunch of Christmas Cookie Campaign containers and instructional cards in the shed recently.
The Christmas Cookie Campaign was a huge event we held every year at the local correctional facilities. Seeing those cards and containers brought back a lot of memories. It was a massive undertaking—exhausting, demanding, costly—and I loved every minute of it.
With all my heart.
Allow me to share just a few memories with you. Some of the images are pretty fuzzy, but the memories are as clear as day. If you click on the pictures, you can read the full captions.
Cookies in pretty tins for New Brothers!
Some of the awesome volunteers who helped distribute the Gift Bags and presented a Christmas Program for the inmates.
SO MANY Christmas Cards! Everey card was checked by yours truly, to be sure it did not have a greeting that mentioned being with family, at home, or anything else that might be inappropriate for a man in jail at Christmas. Made sure each one had a proper envelope, too.
A WWII War Bride from England helped me organize the inserts for the Christmas cards one year.
The Seniors at a local church helped sign Christmas cards.
It is a family tradition, passed down to us by my Mother, to share “Smilie Jesus Tracts,” That’s what she called them, and every man received one. 🙂
During the Campaign, we would come home and find cookies on our doorstep. People loved baking for the guys. Bless their hearts. I was thankful for every crumb!
No, not a tornado. Just the aftermath of Packing Day. 🙂
We had to idenitfy and count every cookie. EVERY COOKIE! It was a lot of fun. 🙂
My daughter and dutiful helper. This picture makes it look like she’s going to eat all those cookies, but she was just packing them in ziplock bags.
Each bag had at least ten cookies, and the packed cookies were careful packed into boxes for transporting to the jails.
A portion of the containers that I would wash each year. So many containers! LOL
At the jail, volunteers formed an assembly line and filled each Gift Bag with cookies, candy, hot cocoa, candy canes, and a hand-signed Christmas card.
In the months before Christmas, I would buy out (my sister and niece helped) all the red lunch sacks at Target. My sister hand-decorated each one of these.
This guy—the reason I was able to do any of this. He crossed all the t’s and dotted every i, gaining us uncommon access at both local facilities. He made sure we always colored in the lines, so that Christ’s reputation was unvarnished and the men could recieve as much as possible. And, he acted in the plays, led worship, conducted the ministry, liasoned with the officers, rallied the men, hauled the boxes, helped pack candy and cookies, and signed cards. He loved those men with all his heart—and still does.
Some of the volunteers. Oh, it touches my heart to see their faces. Such heroes! This was on Christmas Eve, mind you. ❤
Did I mention we collected 6,000 homebaked cookies? (Not to mention 6,000 pieces of candy and 600 cards, 1,200 candy canes, and 1,200 packets of hot cocoa!
Doug, Hannah, and I sat around our table into the wee hours, decorating bags. We strung them up around the house to dry.
One year, we ran out of decorated bags. I had to come up with a quick way to fill in the gap. This was the best I could do.
The filled Gift Bags, waiting for distribution!