Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers - Thanksgiving Cupcake Project


Hi friends! Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I seem to be touched with a bit of nostalgia. The cold, November winds have begun to blow. The rain that's falling is threatening to turn to snow. The last of the autumn leaves have turned colors and fallen into crunchy piles on the ground; another year is about to come to a close. As I think about Thanksgiving, I am reminded there are some years when I am "the cook" and there are other years I am "the guest." Either way, it is nice to know I have a place to welcome friends and family or to go and share happiness during the holiday season.

During most of my adult life I have, in one way or another, spent the holidays serving meals at a shelter, to soldiers in a mess hall, hosting family and friends and many soldiers in my home, inviting friends of friends to come and eat, spending time at the VA hospitals, or nursing home with my grandmother. I have an incredibly deep and affectionate spot for the elderly and I do admit to doting on anyone who does not have a place to go during the holidays. There is "always room for one more" at my table.

It is precisely this train of thought which prompted my little guy to completely empty out our pantry this past weekend, "for the good of the community" he told me when the Boy Scouts did their annual food drive. I noted he was more than happy to donate the artichoke hearts, peas, carrots and string beans. When I asked him what we should do about the Fruit Roll-Ups, Animal Crackers and Slim Jims, he quickly responded that was not a canned item and therefore not an adequate donation. I fear he might be right on that one!

What can I say, I was born in September and therefore my Libran personality requires me to thrive on balance and harmony. I need to know everyone is happy and most of all well fed! I do not do it out of a sense of obligation; I do it because it is the right thing to do. There have been many holidays I spent alone, in foreign countries. What I would not have given for a friendly face or familiar food. Not to be overly dramatic, but I told myself I would not go through those lonely days again. Familiarity is what brings us together. I try to do my part, no matter how small.

Which brings me to my latest project. There is an Army program called BOSS - Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers. It is a program which supports the overall quality of single soldier’s lives. BOSS identifies well being issues and concerns by recommending improvements through the chain of command. BOSS encourages and assists single soldiers in identifying and planning for recreational and leisure activities. Additionally, it gives single soldiers the opportunity to participate in and contribute to their respective communities.The BOSS program originated in 1989 to respond to the recreational needs of single soldiers from ages 18 to 25 who make up 35% of the Army. As the program was implemented throughout the Army, it became evident quality of life was the primary concern to single soldiers. In 1991, the Chief of Staff of the Army officially expanded BOSS to include all aspects of soldiers’ lives. Some BOSS members then began to express an interest in participating in community service project, which was added as a component of the program. These components, recreation and leisure, well-being and community service are the core components of the BOSS program.

With that as a preface, there are approximately 50 soldiers this Thanksgiving to whom the BOSS program will be providing dinner for at the United States Military Academy. Now you and I both know, no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without cupcakes! I am certain the Mayflower would never have made the treacherous journey across the Atlantic Ocean without several dozen cupcakes to share at the feast... oops, I might have just reinvented history!

My little guy and I are donating 6-dozen cupcakes for their dinner tomorrow. I am so pleased to be able to support our soldiers in a small way. Please do not forget our single soldiers, or anyone else who would otherwise have nowhere to go this holiday season. No matter what you do, or who its for, no matter how small your gesture; someone, somewhere will appreciate what you do when you do it from your heart! Cupcakes always make life a little bit sweeter!

Best!
Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. I will post pictures and recipes for all the cupcakes donated!

4 comments:

Ms Ashley said...

Way to give back! That's so great of you, and it's a lot of work making that many cupcakes!

(I'm a Libra too, and I know exactly what you mean about being Balanced. It's funny how right your sign is about you.)

lauren-italianstyle said...

Hi Wendy,

I found your blog when I was studying abroad in Rome last spring, and have been checking it regularly ever since. Reading all about your cupcakes and scribbling down ideas to bake when I got back home was a big motivator to keep me positive throughout my stay. I just want to let you know that even though I've never met you, you seem like a wonderful person and I really admire your strength and positive attitude through your current trials. You are a blessing to many people and you brighten the lives of many whom you may never know. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers during this holiday season. Have a wonderful day!

Lauren

Wendy said...

Hey MS ASHLEY - I have to agree with you, making 6 dozen cupcakes certainly was a lot of work! But the time went very quickly and I was so happy to do it. I am glad to know a fellow Libran understands! *hugs*

Wendy said...

LAUREN! What an incredibly sweet comment you left for me. Thank you so much!! You brightened my day so much. I am always happy to know when I make a difference, many times you never really know what kind of an impact you truly can make. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I will cherish that always! Merry Christmas to you and keep checking in! I have some fun stuff coming up! Best! xoxo