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The Dean family is new to the Union Grove community. This holiday season, despite moving away from their family and friends, they’ve been baking cookies, as a way to connect with their new neighbors.

Jenni Dean reached out to her new neighbors in The Grove Community Facebook group, inquiring if anyone was interested in a spread of Christmas cookies and candies, at no charge.

The response was overwhelming, as kind messages flooded the comments section on this post. As Jenni’s baking to-do list grew longer, the family’s hearts became fuller.

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Screenshot of Jenni’s post on Facebook.

Some neighbors praised the family for their act of kindness, others reached out to get their relatives’ names on the recipient list, and together, everyone has felt the Christmas spirit in their own way. One neighbor even donated their extra baking ingredients for Jenni to use.

cookies, Dean family
Screenshot of a comment left on Jenni’s post (pictured above).

For many, Jenni’s post warmed their hearts before the cookies had even come out of the oven.

One commenter said, “And this right here folks is what the Christmas spirit is all about! Bless you Jenni!”

“I’d be really sad if I didn’t have people to bake cookies for this time of year,” says Jenni.

Military instills the importance of community during the holidays

Moving closer to her husband’s job brought the family to the Union Grove area about nine months ago. The Deans are no strangers to moving. Jenni’s husband was in the military, and currently is employed with the military as a civilian.

As a military wife and mother, Jenni knows how difficult it can be during the holidays to be away from family. That’s why she’s made it her goal to connect with those in the surrounding area.

Especially during the holidays, situations can be tough for military families and others. That’s why she’s doing her part to bring people together.

cookies, Dean family
The Deans: Back row, (left to right) Sean, Lance (dad) and Jenni (mom). Front row, Sal holding Grace, the family dog, and Dominic. – Credit: Dean family

They are no longer outsiders in the Union Grove area as Christmas cookies connected them to a heap of people.

Spreading Christmas cheer through cookies

Not only did Dean offer to bake cookies for others, but she was even willing to accommodate different food allergies and dietary restrictions.

Out of the goodness of her heart and with a passion for baking, Dean has baked dozens and dozens of cookies for neighbors in need.

She says she did it because “there are a lot of people here who could really use a little holiday spirit.”

Baking cookies is one of her family’s traditions during the holidays; some of her favorite memories growing up revolve around baking with her relatives at Christmastime. Being away from family during the holidays meant the potential of missing out on this tradition.

Instead of losing the tradition, Jenni brought it to life, in a new way, as a way to meet new neighbors.

Tins that were once empty, without a place to go, now are overfilled with Dean’s Holiday M&M cookies, Christmas Krispies, Italian Pecan Crescents cookies, and more for community members.


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