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Woman sends thousands of homemade cookies to soldiers

Monday, May 28, 2012

Roughly four years ago, Candy Bishop, a retired marketing exec, was very moved by a story she read about a badly wounded Iraq war vet who was suffering on many levels.

Candy went online and started researching different groups that provide guidance on how we at home can help those in the theater of war far away. And she was hooked.

"It just spoke to me," she told ABC7. "I don't know why. It was Candy time to get the dog off the porch and start doing something meaningful to some people. I had no idea how meaningful it would be to Candy Bishop."

Candy has come to know a lot of the men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. She writes letters. She stopped counting at 4,000. She sends them care packages. And early on, with some of them, she included Oreos. An Army mail clerk in Iraq wrote back.

"Thanks for the Oreos, Candy," the letter read. "Real nice. But could you bake me some peanut butter cookies?"

"I said, I don't know," she said. "I guess. But I don't want to, because I'm not a big fan of baking cookies and I never cared for peanut butter."

But you know what happened. Candy started baking cookies and found out it wasn't as boring as she thought. Peanut butter. Butterscotch morsels. She now regularly bakes and sends what one soldier has dubbed "evil chocolate".

"One of my secrets is always use butter, don't be messing with margarine," said Candy.

Candy has baked, packaged and sent hundreds of dozens of cookies to the other side of the world. She knows that the men and women there need, as she says, kind words and practical stuff far more than cookies, but the cookies do help give that little taste of home.

"Any time, you can take them out of the desert, just for a moment you've done something good," she said.

It was not part of her wish that Candy would get things in return for her kindness, but that's the way it works. From the men and women in a desert far away have come cards and letters, a flag flown over an Air Force base, and an abundance of thank you's. She has touched many lives, and they have changed hers.

"It has changed my life and that seems so bizarre to say it, but even more bizarre that it's true. It has changed my life," she said.

Candy sends a lot of emails, but says the men and women serving in Afghanistan remind her that there's nothing quite like mail call with a hard copy note from someone who's thinking about and may, if requested, send them some of those "evil chocolate" cookies.

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