Still Inn Support Of Our Troops
July 22, 2021
In July of 2020, a really neat thing happened across the country. A group of Innkeepers came together to bake and ship cookies to deployed service members in celebration of Independence Day. It all started with Angel Baker Karen Wilson, who learned we were in search of more Angel Bakers and came up with a way to bring the innkeeper community together during COVID while also supporting the troops. The campaign, Inn Support of Our Troops was born!
“When I heard that Soldiers’ Angels was looking for virtual volunteers to bake and mail goods to service members I knew I wanted to participate. Both of our dads are Army vets and we have a special place in our hearts for all service members,” says Karen.
She recruited around 30 innkeepers for the campaign in 2020 and even had some news coverage about it! This year they are back at it with nine inns supporting the effort during May for Military Appreciation Month.
“Connecting with other inns and joining together for a great cause was such a positive and creative outlet that we all desperately needed in 2020. Nurturing others tends to be an innkeeper trait so sending a taste of home comes natural and easy for us. For me, making friends with other innkeepers and the Angel Baker team had been an extra bonus of this experience so I was excited and looking forward to this project again this year.”
Karen and her husband Steve are the owners of The Lion & the Rose Bed & Breakfast in Asheville, North Carolina. One of the unique baked items they do is “spent grain cookies” made with the grain from Steve’s homebrew. This year, the two baked and shipped 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
“One dozen were spent grain peanut butter cookies and the other 2 1/2 dozen were spent grain chocolate chip peanut butter cookies,” says Karen.
She adds, “I love baking anything. I have enjoyed it since I was a little girl. It has stuck with me through the years and was a perfect skill to have when Steve and I decided to become innkeepers. My signature baked goods are our spent grain peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies and my wine brownies. Steve brews his own beer and I use the spent grains from his beer to make these cookies. I also like making special cupcakes for the holidays, lava cake for birthdays, and other little sweet treats like homemade fudge. Steve also does a little baking and his banana bread is a guest favorite. We feel very fortunate to be back doing what we love to do.”
Karen joined the Angel Baker team last May after being inspired to create the “Inn Support of our Troops” initiative. Last year, the goal was for the deployed service members to receive some baked goodies by Independence Day. This year, she chose May for Military Appreciation month and to give the inns a little more flexibility with time to bake and ship a box or two before busy season. She plans to continue the project each May in honor of Military Appreciation month.
“Last year when we had time on our hands, I was looking to volunteer for a nonprofit organization that supported the military. I came across Soldiers’ Angels and when I saw the Angel Bakers, I knew this was exactly what I was looking for. Steve’s Dad was an Army veteran. My Dad is an Army veteran that still works with a company that provides transportation to current service members (within North Carolina). Steve and I both have a deep respect for our service members and veterans. We appreciate everything they do to keep us safe and protect our country,” says Karen.
This year, Karen was surprised to receive an email from a service member they supported. She says, “It was so touching and moving that he took the time to write a thank you. I wrote him back offering a complimentary stay once he gets home.”
“I want to thank you because today I received some delicious cookies from you. All the flavors are very rich and I even shared them with my coworkers. Once again, thank you and God bless you.
P.S. I did visit your website and you guys have a beautiful home and the food and snacks look very interesting. I hope to visit you with my family once I return to the USA.– Email from service member supported through Inn Support of Our Troops
Here are some photos of the amazing cookies and supplies sent from a few of the other inns. Love to bake and want to support deployed service members? Learn more about our Angel Bakers team here.