By Bea Magana
Sullivans Elementary School Public Affairs
(YOKOSUKA, Japan) – Students, families and staff from The Sullivans School on board Commander Fleet Activities, Yokosuka (CFAY) teamed up with USO Yokosuka for its annual Cookie Caravan, Dec. 14.
A long-standing holiday tradition, the USO’s Cookie Caravan delivers freshly baked cookies to service members stationed in Yokosuka.
Jennifer Gilmore, USO Yokosuka’s Fields Programs Manager, coordinated efforts with The Sullivans School and the CFAY community this year. Gilmore estimates the total number of cookies baked by Sullivans families and other CFAY community members to reach 10,000 this year.
The Sullivans school has partnered with USO Yokosuka for the past 10 years, said Sullivan’s second grade teacher, Yvette Parker. Parker who led this year’s efforts said she feels that projects like the USO Cookie Caravan are “a fun way to teach community service to our youngsters; showing them that it’s the little things we do that make all the difference.”
This year, the USO delivered more than 200 boxes of cookie mix to The Sullivans School.
“We’ve benefited from the goodwill of the USO in the past and wanted to give back,” said cookie baker, Laura Reifsteck, a parent of a first, second and fourth grader at Sullivans.
Sullivans’ teachers put together the packages of cookies baked by Sullivans families. Ms. Kathleen Edwards, a Sure Start teacher at the Sullivans said it was “a true pleasure to express, even in this small way our appreciation for the hard work and dedication of those who live and work aboard our Yokosuka ships”.
“Sullivans’ students and families have really done a fantastic job baking cookies for the USO Cookie Caravan project to spread holiday cheer,” said Parker, who said she was delighted by the end result of this year’s work.
“USO Yokosuka would like to thank everyone at Sullivans Elementary for their continued show of support for our military by baking cookies for our Cookie Caravan,” said Gilmore, USO Yokosuka’s Field Manager. “Without the help and support from volunteers, this wonderful program would not be possible. Everyone who received these home-baked treats really enjoyed this little taste of home.”
CFAY is home to Kinnick High School, Yokosuka Middle School, Ikego Elementary School and The Sullivans Elementary School. FLEACT Yokosuka provides, maintains and operates base facilities and services in support of the 7th Fleet’s forward deployed naval forces, 83 tenant commands, and 24,000 military and civilian personnel. The Sullivans School is the largest school in DoDEA with a student body of approximately 1,200 in grades K-5. DoDEA Pacific’s schools serve nearly 23,000 military-connected children of U.S. Service members and civilian support personnel stationed throughout the Pacific Theater.