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Cookie Drive brings taste of home to Airmen

Cookies sit out on display during a cookie drive at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Dec. 18, 2017. More than 6,600 cookies were collected for the 366th Fighter Wing's Annual Holiday Cookie Drive which takes place during the first part of December to provide base dorm residents a comforting taste of home in the form of cookies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chester Mientkiewicz)

Volunteers gather boxes in preparation for a cookie drive at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Dec. 18, 2017. The 366th Fighter Wing's Annual Holiday Cookie Drive takes place during the first part of December to provide base dorm residents a comforting taste of home in the form of cookies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chester Mientkiewicz)

Walter Rueger, a commissary store worker, tapes a box during a cookie drive at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Dec. 18, 2017. The 366th Fighter Wing's Annual Holiday Cookie Drive takes place during the first part of December to provide base dorm residents a comforting taste of home in the form of cookies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chester Mientkiewicz)

A volunteer applies a holiday sticker to a box during a cookie drive at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Dec. 18, 2017. The 366th Fighter Wing's Annual Holiday Cookie Drive takes place during the first part of December to provide base dorm residents a comforting taste of home in the form of cookies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chester Mientkiewicz)

Volunteers gather cookies during a cookie drive at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Dec. 18, 2017. The 366th Fighter Wing's Annual Holiday Cookie Drive takes place during the first part of December to provide the base’s dorm residents a comforting taste of home in the form of cookies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chester Mientkiewicz)

Santa and Jenny Kunkel, MHAFB Key Spouse president, stand out in front of the commissary during a cookie drive at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Dec. 18, 2017. The 366th Fighter Wing's Annual Holiday Cookie Drive takes place during the first part of December to provide the base’s dorm residents a comforting taste of home in the form of cookies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chester Mientkiewicz)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Volunteers gathered more than 6,600 cookies for single Airmen living in the dormitories Dec. 18 during a cookie drive here.

“We’re just giving the Airmen a little taste of home,” said Jenny Kunkel, MHAFB Key Spouse president. “We know that a lot of Airmen won’t make it home this holiday season.”

This is Kunkel’s 12th year of volunteering in Air Force cookie drives. Her previous locations were Elmendorf AFB, Alaska and Tyndall AFB, Florida.

“This is one my favorite things to volunteer for,” Kunkel said.

The cold winter environment in Idaho poses some unique challenges. However, those challenges didn't prevent volunteers at Mountain Home AFB from contributing to the project.

“This is my second year doing the cookie drive here,” said Theresa Brynteson, cookie drive volunteer. “We just try to share a taste of home to those in the dormitories away from their families. I always get excited for it because I know the impact it’s going to have on the Airmen.”

Approximately 40 volunteers helped make the event a success with everything from collecting cookies at the cookie drive, to boxing up cookies. Countless cookie-contributors spent extra time in their holiday season to bake cookies for the Gunfighter Airmen.

“Everyone loves to bake cookies,” Kunkel said. “Sharing them with Airmen is just a wonderful thing.”

At the end of the Cookie Drive, squadron first sergeants picked up loads of the boxed cookies and dispersed them throughout the dormitories to the single Airmen.

“We are so grateful for the commissary,” Brynteson said. “They donated a lot of resources to make this happen.”

Thanks to those volunteers and bakers, Airmen will get a touch of holiday warmth this holiday season.