Karin King is looking for letters to troops and ‘pocket change’
By Kyle LoJacono
LAND O’ LAKES — Three years of baking 1,200 cookies each week would cause most people to lose steam, but Karin King is not like most people.
“I’ve only just begun,” said King, who founded Treats for Troops in Land O’ Lakes in 2007. “It bothers me that so many troops in remote war zones do not have access to a PX (store on base) to buy necessities…It bothers me that so many PXes are empty or scarcely stocked.”
Despite the sluggish economy, King had arguably the most successful year in supporting deployed U.S. soldiers. She collected 8,500 pounds of Halloween candy from people across the state and country.
King also sent 1,500 dozen, or 18,000 home baked cookies with the help of the community. King receives help from Ricardo Montero, of Wesley Chapel, who owns a commercial oven and can bake 600 cookies in an hour. Others who help are Jean Lawhead, of Lutz, and Kathy Reed, of Tampa.
Toiletries, coffee and powdered drinks also find their way into the care packages.
Now King is starting a new push to support the troops. The first part of her effort is called Operation Pocket Change. King ships the sweets and supplies with the help of Support Our Troops in Wesley Chapel, and the shipping costs are steep.
SOT spent $35,000 shipping all its boxes to the troops in November, and $50,000 in December. Bob Williams started SOT and said about 2,000 boxes were sent those months.
When asked about what it meant to send so many boxes for the holidays, Williams said it was “One of the most rewarding experiences of my life. After 28 years of sending boxes to our troops I am always amazed at the support from the public and the never-ending gratitude of our troops serving in harm’s way.”
Williams said the cost of shipping this month will be around $25,000. It costs about $1 to ship one pound of supplies to the troops.
“We are asking the community to spare us their pocket change to help offset some of the costs of postage and baking supplies,” King said.
The second part of King’s effort is to send another 1,500 dozen cookies and 6,000 letters to the troops for Valentine’s Day. King sent 3,000 letters to the soldiers for the 2009 holiday season and is looking to “saturate” all the military bases overseas with the help of the community.
“It bothers me that postage is so expensive that their families cannot send them care packages,” King said. “If a home-baked cookie and a card or letter from a stranger is all it takes to get their spirits up, then I will do whatever it takes to continue my quest until they all come home. They are fighting for our freedom. It is our duty to send them what they need.”
The idea for sending the cards came after it was announced at the end of 2009 that an additional 30,000 troops were being deployed to Afghanistan.
Those who want to help bake the cookies without buying their own supplies can do so by e-mailing King at or calling (813) 746-1517.
All the letters and cookies need to be given to King by Feb. 1 so they reach the troops by Valentine’s Day. They can be handmade or store bought, but the envelope must be unsealed.
While King is calling for help with pocket change, letters and baking cookies from the community, she is still looking for people to donate baking supplies and other needed items for the troops.
“It sometimes is the little things that we take for granted that make a huge impact,” King said. “We will not stop until the last soldier has come home.”
Those who donate can receive a tax-deductible receipt. Checks should be made out to Karin King-Treats for Troops and mailed or taken to her. Money is not being collected at the drop-off locations.
King said any other businesses that want to become drop-off sites should also call or e-mail her.
- The Laker/Lutz News, 1930 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Suite No. 14, Land O’ Lakes
- SunCoast Veterinary Care Center, 20319 SR 54, Lutz, (813) 949-8899
- Ledo’s Pizza, 14432 N. Dale Mabry, Carrollwood, (813) 964-5700
How to Help
Karin King with Treats for Troops
Call: (813) 746-1517
Needed items: Letters to the soldiers; home baked cookies and help with baking; money to help with the cost of shipping and baking supplies; coffee; instant beverages (Kool-Aid, lemonade); tea; hot chocolate; instant soup; toiletries (body wash, shampoo, body lotion, sunscreen) and feminine hygiene products
Web site: www.treatsfortroops.info
Bob Williams with Support Our 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