The church hopes to send 8,000 boxes of cookies — about two tons — to troops at five bases in Afghanistan.
“These Oreos go to the guys and girls who are carrying M-16s and are on the front line,” said the Rev. Don Martin, the church’s senior pastor.
Some donors will put special notes on the Oreo boxes thanking the troops for their service and sending them blessings for their safety.
“It’s more than a cookie,” Martin said. “It’s a prayer that we love [them] and we care about [them] and we want [them] to come home.”
He said the soldiers send thank-you letters and photos in appreciation.
The cookie drive began June 1, and donors have been dropping off all varieties of Oreos to the church, which is at 69 N. Main St. in Alpharetta.
“We’ve had Publix [donate] some,” said Beth Allain, the church’s communications manager. “Target and Wal-Mart gave us huge discounts on some Oreos. We’ve had a number of people bring them and say they just wanted to be anonymous.”
She said Cannon United Methodist Church in Snellville learned about the cookie drive and is also collecting Oreos for the cause.
Martin said his wife works at Rockdale Medical Center in Conyers, and some of the nurses there have donated Oreos. He said he would love to bring Nabisco, the parent company of Oreo cookies, on board with the drive.
Martin and Allain said the biggest day for donations will be this Sunday during the church’s annual Patriotic Sunday services at 8:30 and 11 a.m.
“The altar of our church will be stacked with Oreos,” Martin said.
Operation Oreo has grown significantly since its start in 2009. The cookie drive was developed after the pastor had a chance encounter with a soldier on an airplane.
“I happened to be sitting next to a soldier on the plane, and I started up a conversation with him,” he said. “I asked him, ‘While you’re away in Iraq, what did you miss the most?’ And he said, ‘Oreos — Double Stuff.’”
Martin asked his congregation to send Oreos to the young man and his troop, and church members responded by donating more than 2,000 packages that first year.