Yokota volunteers brought holiday spirit to local unaccompanied U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force Airmen Dec. 11 and 12, 2022, with cookie donations from the community, in an event aptly titled the “Cookie Crunch.”
During the winter months, Airmen stationed overseas may experience the holidays away from friends and family – many for the first time in their lives. The Yokota community developed a way to lift their spirits by distributing thousands of baked cookies.
Multiple people from the community, including the Yokota Spouse’s Club, United Service Organizations, Yokota High School, Base Chapel, Yokota Commissary, and teams of volunteers, came together to make the event happen.
“It’s essential that we’re able to come together as a community to support our Airmen at Yokota Air Base,” said Col. Andrew Roddan, 374th Airlift Wing commander. “Thanks to the amazing members of the Yokota community coming together for a common cause to give back to our hard-working Airmen. These events not only support our U.S. service members but our Japanese Allies who we live and work with every day.”
The Team Yokota Cookie Crunch originated in 2005 and grew into an annual community event with hundreds of participants helping make thousands of cookies. This year, contributions from the community totaled more than 7,000 cookies.
“There’s easily over 100 volunteers that contribute to the Yokota Cookie Crunch, from community members like those at the commissary to Department of Defense Education Activity Schools who helped assemble bags and make cards to all of the community members who baked, bagged and distributed those cookies,” said Stephanie Miller, USO field program manager.
The USO and Yokota schools also contributed holiday cards filled with well-wishes and kind words with each cookie delivery.
“When the Yokota community can come together to support our unaccompanied service members, our goal is to help these Airmen feel a little closer to home,” Miller said. “We want to make sure they know how much we appreciate them.”