Thirteen-year-old Alaina Vik has a lot to be proud of. This past season, the Eagle River Girl Scout sold more cookies than anyone else in the state — 5,500 boxes to be exact. Alaina’s newest project also involves cookies, but this time she is putting them in care packages to be shipped to Alaska military members serving overseas.

“They are fighting for our freedom and they are just doing a lot of stuff for us and they deserved to be honored,” she said.

Alaina calls her project “Operation Sweet Support." On a recent weekday morning she was sorting through dozens of boxes of donated goods on her living room floor. She’s branched out to include more than just cookies. Snacks, games, personal items and always a handwritten note are placed inside every box.

“They definitely like the handwritten notes,” said Alaina. “It’s like a touch from home. It’s like a hug.”

She has mailed nearly 100 boxes since her project started, most went to Kuwait. Her new goal is to send 75 boxes to Kosovo in early November.

But it’s an expensive prospect. Every flat rate box costs nearly $20 to ship. Alaina is asking for donations through her Facebook page, which lists items she is looking for, and financial help for shipping costs through a GoFundMe site.

Alaina sometimes gets letters of gratitude

Alaina said she knows the boxes make a difference because soldiers tell her it does. A recent letter from a soldier named Gabe reads, “You have no idea how many smiling faces you put on our soldiers out there.”

Her efforts have also brought her something else to be proud of. Her good work was recently recognized by U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, who named her the “Alaskan of the Week” on the Senate Floor. The senator called her a young woman with a big heart and thanked her for supporting the troops.

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