Karin King needs help and leftover Halloween candy for her cause
By Kyle LoJacono
LAND O’ LAKES — Most people enjoy fresh-baked cookies, but that luxury is something the women and men of the U.S. armed forces do without daily.
That is, except when Karin King is baking.
“It warms my heart to be able to help make the troops’ lives a little nicer,” King said. “They do so much to keep our country safe, and have to do it in faraway places in bad conditions. If I can send some of them cookies and treats to make them smile, then it is worth it. It lets them know people still care about what they are doing.”
King has done more than send just some of them cookies. Over the last three years, she has baked 100 dozen, or 1,200 cookies, each week as part of the Treats for Troops program she established in Land O’ Lakes. The cookies cost a few hundred dollars per week.
King is unemployed, which gives her more time to bake cookies. Those cookies almost fill 17 boxes each week, and she fills the extra space with candy.
King said a few other people have helped in the past, but she is the only one baking now. She is asking anyone interested in helping bake cookies for the troops to call or e-mail her (see the box below).
Candy is used in place of packing peanuts to prevent the cookies from crushing, so King requests donations for unopened leftover Halloween candy. While she cannot send chocolate cookies from May to October due to the heat, there are no restrictions to the kind of candy that can be donated now.
“I don’t want anyone to buy extra candy just to give to me,” King said. “I know that people usually have lots of leftover candy that they don’t have a chance to give out on Halloween.
“So I’m asking anyone to donate what they aren’t going to use and to try and gather and donate other people’s leftover candy too. Parents can ask for leftovers at their kid’s schools, youth clubs, sports teams, day cares, churches and other places to make donations.”
Those interested in donating can drop candy off at The Laker/Lutz News, located at 1930 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Suite No. 14. King said people can also drop off candy at her residence, or she will meet them if they do not live close to her.
King collected 1,600 pounds of candy in 2007 and 2,000 pounds in 2008. This year’s goal is 5,000 to 10,000 pounds.
Her efforts were recognized in April with a certificate of appreciation from Multi-National Force-Iraq. Flags were flown in honor at bases in Al Qatar, Kuwait and Afghanistan. She also received letters and e-mails of thanks from troops, who share the candy with children who save troops’ lives.
“The kids have spared the lives of our troops by telling them where the enemy placed bombs more than once,” King said. “Many times the troops tell me the cookies are the first the kids over there have ever eaten.”
King sends the boxes of treats through Support Our Troops in Wesley Chapel. Bob Williams, who served on the USS Independent in Vietnam from 1964 to 1967, is in charge of that organization.
“Karin has been a huge help in sending things to the troops,” Williams said. “Getting a bag of cookies and candy from home makes all the difference in the moral of the troops. I want these boys and girls to have the respect they deserve because that wasn’t the case sometimes in the past. People like Karin help make life livable for them.”
Williams buys thing like small refrigerators, microwaves and televisions to send to the troops in large boxes, along with the treats from King. It costs hundreds to thousands of dollars to mail boxes to troops each year. Donations are welcome.
While the troops like the treats, there is one person that has to suffer through the baking.
“The only problem is I have is to smell all those cookies all the time, but I’m not allowed to eat any of them,” said King’s husband, Jim. “It really is incredible to me the dedication Karin has. I am just the guy who goes and gets stuff for her, to make it easy for her. She does everything herself.”
Jim King’s father, James C. King, was in the armed forces as the medical director for the U.S. Public Health Service.
“I’ll keep sending the treats as long as I possibly can,” King said. “It is the least I can do for those real heroes around the world.”
How to Help
Karin King with Treats for Troops
Call: (813) 746-1517
Needed items: Leftover Halloween candy; help with baking; coffee; instant beverages (Kool-Aid, lemonade); tea; toiletries (body wash, shampoo, body lotion, sunscreen) and feminine hygiene products
Drop-off location: 1930 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Suite No. 14
Web site: www.TreatsForTroops.Info
Bob Williams with Support the Troops
Needed items: Checks or money orders payable to the Postmaster and sent to P.O. Box 7560 Wesley Chapel, FL 33545 to help pay for postage
Web site: www.ourtroopsonline.com
Hello do you have any location near brandon that i could drop some stuff off.. thanks.
Call or e-mail Karin King using the information in the article to set up a drop-off time and place that works for them (they will meet you halfway) . Thanks for reading and for your comment.