Oreo

Operation Oreo is an annual cookie drive sponsored by Alpharetta Methodist to share our love and respect — and a taste of home — with military men and women who are serving in combat zones overseas.

Over the past three years, we’ve collected an average of 5.2 tons of Oreos for service members!

Operation Oreo began with a 2009 chance encounter on a plane when Senior Pastor Dr. Don Martin sat beside young soldier returning from duty in Iraq. Our Director of Contemporary Music,
Stephanie Newton, captures the story in her ballad. Watch and listen, and you’ll understand why we keep sending cookies to service men and women, summer after summer. Read the story behind the Oreos.

Each year during the month of June, church members and patriotic citizens in the community bring Oreos to the church and place them at the altar. The church encourages those donating cookies to attach a note or written prayer to each package.

Operation Oreo always culminates with a standing-room-only patriotic worship service — on the Sunday before Independence Day — with stacks of Oreos surrounding the altar. The choir and orchestra play patriotic music, and military veterans are recognized.

Operation Oreo is one small – and easy! — way to say thank you to the brave men and women who sacrifice so much to keep us free, and to let them know they are in our constant prayers.

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Operation Oreo 2018

This year, the cookies will go to:

  • Elements of the 8th Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, a Marine Expeditionary Force stationed in Afghanistan
  • The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Sailors deployed to the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea aboard Phibron 4, an Amphibious Ready Group that includes the USS New York, USS Iwo Jima and USS Oak Hall
  • The Army Reserve’s 336th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 653rd Regional Support Group, assigned to Central Command
  • The Army’s 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Division, and 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, serving in Kuwait
  • The Army’s 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, deployed to Qatar

Because our construction project has eliminated much of our storage space, the Oreos will be stacked and stored in the Sanctuary and Vinebranch Chapel throughout the cookie drive. Hopefully, we’ll see the stacks of cookies grow dramatically from week to week!

  • Bring Oreo packages to worship on Sunday mornings, May 27 through July 1.
  • On weekdays, drop them off at Alpharetta Methodist’s administrative office, located in Mod B at the back of the church’s Cumming Street parking lot. (Follow the “Oreo Drop Off” signs!)
  • If you’re a business or church or just have LOTS of Oreos, let us know when you’re coming, and we’ll arrange for a photographer and a member of our maintenance team to meet you at the main sanctuary to help you unload. Call us at 770-475-5576 or email communications@afumc.org.

Operation Oreo Letters

In 2016, Alpharetta Methodist, with the help of area United Methodist Churches and the community, collected 5 tons of Oreos and shipped them to U.S. military serving in 12 destinations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Qatar. They also went to the U.S. Navy Ship Mercy, a floating medical facility. Some Oreos were also delivered to the Atlanta Veterans Hospital in Decatur.

Click below for more photos.

Read messages from the service members who received Oreos in 2016:

From the USNS Mercy:

My name is Lt. Joseph Lai, and I am a U.S. Navy dentist stationed onboard USNS Mercy T-AH 19. Our department just received a box of Oreos from your church, and I just wanted to thank you all for thoughtful support.

We have been deployed for about 2 months now in the South Pacific for Pacific Partnership 2015. Our ship is essentially a floating hospital designed to sail to different parts of the Pacific and provide relief for nations that experience natural disasters. For our humanitarian mission this summer, we have teamed up with host and partner nations to provide many different engineering, medical, veterinary, dental and community projects to countries in need.

Once again, thank you very much for the Oreos…It’s been a long time since any of us have had these tasty treats!

Lt. Joseph Lai

The cookies arrived on Saturday July 18th. It was a good day for us to get mail, and we enjoyed several packages of the Oreos with ice cream that night. We are in the Philippines now and will be here until the end of the month. Be sure to let everyone know how much we appreciate the cookies!

Capt. Melanie Merrick, USNS Mercy

Oreos received today! Thank you again so much for supporting the crew!!! The service members onboard are so grateful to receive a little piece of home! We are halfway through the mission and have not received a lot of mail due to the remote mission ports we are visiting. The Oreos were VERY well received! Thank you again for thinking of us! God bless you all!

Command Master Chief Dedrick Walker

From the U.S. Army at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan:

Peace and blessings to you. The Oreos arrived the day I was departing theater (going on a break) and were already being enjoyed by the troops. There will be many happy faces and fully sated appetites for weeks on end.
On behalf of the chaplains, Religious Affairs personnel and the members of the U.S. military in theater, I extend to you and the fine folks who assist in your great works our sincere thanks and appreciation for the deliciously, sweet support.

God bless you.

Chaplain (Capt.) Ioane Sigarara

From the U.S. Army’s Team Shield (Police Advisory Team), Forward Operating Post, Jalalabad, Afghanistan:

Dear Alpharetta First United Methodist Church,

On behalf of Col. Gregory Stokes and Sgt. Major Kevin Artis, we at Team Shield (Police Advisory Team) would like to thank you for your support of our troops. The Oreo cookies were well received from our team, and we really appreciate you guys.

We couldn’t do our jobs without the support of great folks like you all!

Very respectfully,

Maj. McFerrin D. McDonald
Senior AUP Advisor/Team Shield S3
OP Fenty, Jalalabad Afghanistan

From a base in Afghanistan:

I wanted to let you know that in Afghanistan we received Oreos from your church today. The letters attached (and of course the Oreos themselves!) brought smiles to a lot of faces. Thank you for the support. It means so much! My personal favorite was a letter that said “kick some butt!

Jessica Gaines