The USO of North Carolina Jacksonville Center will hold a cookie drop Dec. 20, where volunteers will package and deliver homemade cookies to Marines on duty.

Eastern North Carolina's Marines are all on the “nice” list for the USO of North Carolina’s Operation Cookie Drop. 

The cookie drop collects homemade and store-bought cookies from volunteers at the North Carolina USO in Jacksonville and delivers them to Marines on duty at Camp Lejeune, New River, Cherry Point, Elizabeth City and Wilmington just before they begin taking holiday leave Dec. 20. 

About 10,000 cookies will be delivered to Marines across four counties. 

A little bit of cheer goes a long way, especially when you’re not at home

Holly Coffer


Amy Leuschke, the assistant director of the Jacksonville center and head of the cookie drop, said she has been reaching out to commanding officers and Family Readiness Officers to coordinate delivery stations for the cookies. 

“It’s a lot of cookies,” Leuschke said. “And there’s a lot of appreciation that goes into it.” 

Where the cookies are delivered all depends on who orders them, she added. 

Those wishing to donate cookies can bring their homemade or not-so-homemade goodies to the Jacksonville Center at 9 Tallman St. Monetary donations can be made online at the USO website by selecting the Jacksonville center location. 

Cookie donations for the drop-off will be accepted up until 9 a.m. Dec. 20, when volunteers will begin packing them for delivery. 

The cookies are packed into plastic bags and then delivered to Marines, so Leusche suggested cookie varieties that don’t include elaborate icing or decorations. 

Holly Coffer, the director of the Jacksonville center, suggested classic styles like sugar cookies, gingerbread, chocolate chip and snickerdoodles. 

“The auditorium turns into an assembly line of cookies,” Coffer said. 

Leuschke said the morning of the cookie drop is a jolly one for the USO, as volunteers pack cookies to the tune of Christmas music. 

“Our volunteers really get into the holidays,” Leuschke said. 

Coffer said the concept behind the Cookie Drop coincides with the USO mission of connecting service members to home, family and country. 

“A little bit of cheer goes a long way, especially when you’re not at home,” Coffer said.


Reporter Kelsey Stiglitz can be reached at or 910-219-8453.