Wow! What a delivery! I apologize that this has taken me so long to post, but it’s done. Here’s how our delivery went down!
Our delivery went very well this year. Once again, this year, we collected roughly 1500 boxes of Tastykakes and over $10k! It was another successful year. Thank you all for your support!
The ride began on Saturday, October 12, 2013. Dave and Bob began their 3 day, 200 mile bicycle journey from Bethlehem, PA to Bethesda, MD. The weather held out for them. It was a bit muddy on the bike trail on day 2, but it wasn’t terrible. They were tired and a bit sore, but they arrived at their destination safe and sound, and in great time too.
On Monday, October 14, 2013, Linda, my husband, and I drove down to Bethesda, along with Tom and Gannon and our trailer of Tastykakes. We met up at our hotel with Dave and Bob. My husband and I finished writing the value of the gift cards on them and then we got ready to head out to dinner.
We got ready and walked to our traditional pre-delivery dinner location: The Tavern at Fire Station 1! We had a great time and good food. It was a nice way to celebrate another successful collection of Tastykakes to support our troops.
We woke up at a decent hour on Tuesday, October 15, 2013, to get ready for our 3rd delivery of Tastykakes and gift cards to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. One we arrived at Walter Reed, we headed straight for the loading dock so we could unload hundreds and hundreds of Tastykakes. We had a lot of help from some wonderful civilian and military employees of the hospital.
Once we had all of the Tastykakes unloaded and on the loading dock, we put them on dollies and transported them to the lobby where the events staff at Walter Reed already had a table set up for us. We were set up right across from the Warrior Cafe. There was also another table set up in the lobby with a birthday cake for the US Navy’s 238th birthday (Happy Belated Birthday, US Navy)! We hung up our banner that Kari made for us this year on our table, got the gift cards out, the Tastykake t-shirts, and we started to unbox a bunch of cases of Tastykakes and set them up on the table.
Once we were set up, we started handing out our donated items to wounded warriors and troops who walked by. It was nice to hand out Tastykakes and interact with many of the men and women who serve and sacrificed so much for our country. We had many come by who never heard of Tastykakes or who heard of them but never tried them. We had some come by who loved Tastykakes and found their favorites. We even had a few boxes of PowerBars donated this year. Those went very quickly, as many of these wounded warriors wanted to watch what they eat and stay in shape. The gift cards were extremely popular as well.
We were set up from 10am until 1:30pm, so we hit the lunch time rush right in front of the Warrior Cafe. We were also set up when the Navy had their cake cutting ceremony for the Navy’s 238th birthday. So, we received quite a bit of exposure. We even had some wounded warriors and their families coming back for more Tastykakes because they love them so much!
By the end of our time at Walter Reed, we still had a ton of Tastykakes left to hand out, so with the help of the events staff, we filled up our table again with Tastykakes – sky high – and left them out for wounded warriors to take as they passed through the area. We made sure the gift cards were handed out to wounded warriors and their families. We hope the Tastykakes were thoroughly enjoyed!
We had a wonderful day. It was humbling and moving to be able to hand out Tastykakes to the many men and women who serve our country. The Walter Reed staff was fantastic to work with. It was awesome to interact with so many service men and women. We had a fun. It was a very good day.
We are very grateful for the experience we had and we are very grateful to all who serve and sacrifice for our country. We are thrilled to be able to show our appreciation and gratitude in a small way, but this can’t begin to explain how grateful we truly are to everyone serving our country, past and present.
Thank you to Walter Reed for being very accommodating!
Thank YOU for all your support and donations to make 2013 another fantastic delivery!
and a BIG THANK YOU to all our service men and women who sacrifice so much for us!
On October 12, 2012, My dad, Dave, and family friend, Bob, hopped on their bikes again for another 200 mile ride from Bethlehem, PA to Bethesda, MD to kick off the Marshall Plan 2012 delivery. They arrived safely the afternoon of October 15th.
On October 15, 2012, we made another successful delivery to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda. Here’s our delivery story:
Here are a few pictures from the delivery! (click to view larger pictures):
Here is Linda’s account of the delivery:
Our sincere thanks to everyone who donated and/or supported our 2012 Marshall Plan – another successful year! We couldn’t have done it without you!
Sgt. Zachary Johnson and Corpsman Christopher Johnson, our liasons with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, were very helpful to us in getting set up to distribute our donations on Monday, October 15. Corpsman Chris Johnson also told us some of his fascinating and hair-raising experiences as a medic in Iraq and Afghanistan and gave us insights on some of the items that deployed military members enjoy receiving in care packages – especially snack foods, protein-rich foods, energy drinks, and baby wipes. Nine-year-old Gannon, who was part of our team this year, really enjoyed hearing why tough men and women in uniform wanted baby wipes, and Corpsman Johnson enthusiastically explained this. He also taught us how to chill a can of soda or energy drink by placing it in a wet sock and hanging it where it can catch a breeze. This cools a drink down to about 70 degrees, which tastes like it’s straight from the fridge when the outside temperature is 120!
On a more serious note, being able to personally distribute some of our Tastykake and gift card donations this year was such an incredible privilege. Funny how something as simple as a box of Tastykakes could bring smiles to so many faces. Some had never had them, some had gotten them in care packages while deployed, and some related being from Philadelphia or surrounding area hometowns and having grown up with them. They were very happy with the variety we had to offer and the opportunity to try new flavors!
We were able to speak with (and shake hands with) so many wounded warriors – male and female – and with their parents and spouses as well. We heard stories that inspired and humbled us, and many that gave us chills and brought tears to our eyes. One mother told us of her daughter who’d been shot five times. Another mom’s son had stepped on an IED that was intentionally detonated when someone saw him approach it. Both moms were told their children would probably not make it – yet over a year later, they are with us and doing fairly well. A mom and dad accepted some Tastykakes for their son who was in surgery as we spoke. Other parents told us of being at Walter Reed to celebrate their son’s 25th birthday – something they didn’t think he would see when he came to the Medical Center earlier this year. One warrior with a prosthetic leg told us of the sled hockey team he’d just joined. So many – too many – were multiple amputees, some ambulating on prosthetics or with crutches, others still in wheelchairs. We saw many scars and bandages, an abundance of artificial limbs, many orthopedic devices, and a variety of mobility aids. Yet the wounded warriors we saw and spoke with always had a smile and conveyed a sense of pride and honor in being able to serve. They thanked us sincerely for the cupcakes and gift cards that seemed so insignificant compared to what we gratefully thanked them for – their service and sacrifices for our country.
– Linda Reinbold
Looks like they had a great time! Wish I could’ve been there. Thank you so much for all your support and donations! We really appreciate it! We look forward to doing this again next year! I hope you enjoy Linda’s account of the delivery and the pictures courtesy of Kari and Linda.
On October 17, 2011, we delivered about 1600 boxes of Tastykakes and $7,500 worth of gift cards to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD and the USO of Metropolitan DC for our wounded troops and their families.
Here’s my entry about the delivery experience:
Oct. 18, 2011
What a weekend!
We made it to our hotel yesterday in great time. Dad and Bob beat us by about 5 minutes and as we pulled into the parking lot, our “truck driver” and his wife pulled in behind us.
Dad and Bob had a good ride. They said Sunday was the best day weather wise and the ride itself wasn’t too bad, but their directions were a little off, so they had to stop a few times to ask for directions. But, they made it to the hotel in one piece!
We checked into our rooms, relaxed a bit and got ready to go out to dinner. My cousin, who moved to MD a few months ago, met us at the hotel and we headed to dinner. We went to a great place called Fire Station 1 Restaurant & Brewing Co. Great food and great people. Catching up and getting to know people. It was a good time to sit down and relax with everyone knowing that everything was set, in place, ready to go and all we had left was to do the actual delivering of the Tastykakes and the gift cards.
We headed back to the hotel and hung out. Tried to get a good night’s sleep so we could all be well rested for the big day… especially the bikers!
We got up and transferred all of the Tastykakes into our “truck driver’s” trailer. We heard back from the USO this morning as well. The USO was our back up plan. We needed something to do with all of the Tastykakes if Walter Reed didn’t approve our donation. The USO pulled through for us last minute and said they would be willing to accept our donation if need be and give them out to wounded warriors. However, since the donations we received exceeded our goal of 1,000 boxes of Tastykakes, we decided to easy WRNMMCB’s worries and not give them all 1,600 boxes of Tastykakes we received. The USO gave us directions and then we were off to WRNMMCB for our 1000 (aka 10am) scheduled delivery of almost 1,000 boxes of Tastykakes and about $7,500 worth of gift cards.
Our directions to Bethesda were a bit screwy… good thing we left early even though it was only about a 6 mile drive!
We were greeted by a nice sailor at the gate and got through security no problem, thanks to one of our WRNMMCB contacts, Brian, who put us on the base access list. Once we figured out where we were going everything went smoothly.
We pulled up to our destination where had a parking space reserved for us and we were greeted by Brian. It was nice to meet him since he was nice and did his best to help us even though we heard back from them Thursday evening! Brian came out with a small cart for us to load the Tastykakes on. We all looked at each other and were like, “Uhh… do you have anything bigger?” Haha, but we managed. We carried boxes and put some on the cart. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go in and meet any wounded warriors, but Brian brought out a gentleman with him to help us unload. He is a father of a Navy Corpsman who was seriously injured in Iraq and is now rehabbing at WRNMMCB. It was really nice to meet him and to have someone there to see what we were doing, someone we could talk to and someone to thank.
Once we were done at WRNMMCB we headed to Fort Myer, VA to drop off some more Tastykakes. We drove through DC and saw the National Cathedral and the damage to it from the earthquake. We also saw the Washington DC LSD Temple which reminded us of Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz (“SURRENDER DOROTHY”). Anyway, we got to Fort Myer. There security was a little more strict. We all needed to show photo ID and we had to get out of the car, open all the doors, pop the hood and the trunk, so they could inspect. We thought they were going to rip open all our boxes of Tastykakes, but they didn’t. Of course, we got through with no problems.
We found the community activity center and dropped off the rest of our Tastykakes. We wanted to meet Pauline, the Hospital Services Manager at the USO of Metropolitan DC, since she was great and very helpful for us last minute. We wanted to thank her for pulling through for us.
There was a cute chapel in Ft. Myer and right next to the chapel was an entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. There was a military funeral going on at the chapel, and we decided to walk through Arlington National Cemetery for a bit. It was a nice way to end our time in MD/DC/VA to pay our respects to some of many who’ve served our country. On our way out we saw the funeral procession head into the cemetery. It was very moving.
We headed home after our time in Arlington… and came home to another case of Tastykakes that was delivered today from Tastykake HQ. Are you kidding me, Tastykake? Haha… It’s all good. We have a plan for it. Even though my boyfriend is no longer in Afghanistan, there are plenty of other military members deployed and I’m sure they’d enjoy Tastykakes too. So, we are going to ship the case (and any Tastykakes that were donated after the end date) to our deployed troops! We want to thank them too, even if it is in a small way.
Next on our list is to take care of any donations we’ve received after the end date and let all the media outlets who helped us tell our story and spread the word about our mission how everything went.
It was a great experience. We learned a lot. We were successful. We had a blast. I’m very happy we did this and I’m beyond thrilled that it was a success. We all are. We are so very grateful to the many men and women who have served and who are serving our country. We are happy that we could do something to show our appreciation even in a small way. It was the least we could do.
Will we do this again? It’s definitely a possibility. We’ve already been asked about it and have talked about it. We are keeping our options open for now. If we do it again it’ll probably be in about a year. What do you think? Should we do this again? Suggestions, ideas for next time around? We all enjoyed doing it and we’d love to do it again.
We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated and supported us and our mission! We truly appreciate it.
And we’d like to say a huge thank you to the men and women who serve and have served our country! We cannot express our gratitude to you enough. Thank you.