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Cookies needed to send to soldiers in honor of Pfc. Clark

NEW LONDON, Minn. -- More chocolate chip cookies, disposable plastic food containers, cardboard boxes with lids and someone with a vehicle big enough to haul several thousand cookies from New London to Minneapolis are needed this weekend to help get those cookies to soldiers in Afghanistan.

Efforts are underway to get a commercial airline to fly the cookies for free from Minneapolis to the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

From there the cookies will be flown in a military cargo plane to Afghanistan and distributed to soldiers.

Dubbed "Operation Chocolate Chip," the project is the result of an out-pouring of community response to a request for chocolate chip cookies that will be served Sunday following the funeral of U.S. Army Pfc. Ryane Clark.

The 22-year old New London man was killed last week in combat while serving in Afghanistan.

The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. at the New London-Spicer High School. Those attending are invited to a lunch of ham sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, coffee and lemonade that'll be served at Peace Lutheran Church.

Chocolate chip cookies - made without nuts - were Clark's favorite.

With more than enough cookies already promised for the lunch, and requests that left-over cookies be sent to military units where local soldiers are serving, it was decided the operation would be expanded.

Anyone who's willing to donate the packing containers or ground transportation is asked to call Peace Lutheran Church at (320) 354-2774.

Those willing to bake cookies are asked to bring them to the church, starting early Sunday morning.

The West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minn., is owned by Forum Communications Co.