Clearview Regional students make holiday cookie care packages for military troops in Middle East

The school's DECA students packaged over 800 cookies for the son of a Clearview teacher who was recently deployed in Turkey.

From left, Sophia Lutz, Anna Bruno and Jessica Buckley help package the baked cookies for troops stationed in Turkey.

Clearview Regional High School’s DECA club sent over 800 cookie boxes to military troops stationed in Turkey just in time for the holidays.

One of those troops is the son of Clearview’s very own Jeannie Coleman, a marketing teacher and the school’s DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) advisor. 

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Her son, Major Ken Burch, is an assistant commander of an operations group stationed in Turkey and deployed a month ago for a year-long stint.  

Burch had asked his family to bake cookies for him and his group at the same time Jeannie’s DECA students were looking to do something to give back to the military.

That’s when Coleman thought of the idea to combine both initiatives. 

“I thought, ‘wait a minute, that’s a lot of cookies we have to bake,’” said Coleman during the drive on Dec. 6. “It was perfect because the kids (her DECA students) wanted to help.”

About 80 packages of cookies were sent to Burch and his air command of 80 people, provided by both Coleman’s family members and her DECA students with either baked homemade cookies or donated premade boxes. 

Burch, who went to Clearview Regional from 7th to 9th grade, resides in Ocean City with his wife and three children.    

“It’ll be something nice that they’ll appreciate overseas during the holidays,” said his wife, Kristin Burch. 

Kristen joined the DECA students at Clearview during the drive and Facetimed with her husband for students to say hello. 

DECA, founded in 1946, is a nonprofit co-curricular organization for aspiring business students. With over 200,000 high school members, the organization encourages its students to participate in community service. 

The cookies were made for Air Force troops stationed in Turkey.

“It makes you feel good because you know you’re helping somebody that you don’t always think about all the time,” said Julia Buck, a sophomore and co-chairperson of the drive. “We come to school every day and we don’t realize they’re out there doing stuff for us.”   

This is the first time Clearview’s DECA has done a drive for military troops, says Buck.

Ken is excited about the collaboration, Kristin says, adding that he is especially excited to be getting homemade cookies during the holiday season. 

The cookies should get to the troops right before Christmas, says Coleman. The cookies shipped the day after the drive with help from Operation Yellow Ribbon, a nonprofit in NJ that collects donated items to troops overseas. 

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