North Fort Myers man bakes up 460,000 cookies for needy
NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Baking Christmas cookies is a common holiday tradition for many families.
For Charlie Kellenberger, he doesn't stop after he's made a few dozen, or a few thousand.
The North Fort Myers Vietnam veteran has baked more than 460,000 cookies since starting his cookie ministry in 2004.
"Every morning I wake up and think, 'what cookie do I make today and who will enjoy it?'" Kellenberger said.
Kellenberger started his ministry right after Hurricane Charley because he didn't want people to think badly about the name "Charlie."
He started by bringing homemade cookies to victims and first-responders.
Now, 11 years later, he bakes up to 43,000 cookies per year and hand delivers them to local people in need.
"Cookies are my way of sharing love," he said.
Kellenberger operates entirely out of the kitchen inside his mobile home from his wheelchair, since he only has one leg.
"I do my little part from this little mobile home where I live... you don't need a castle to say you love something," he said.
Many of the ingredients Kellenberger uses gets donated by people in the community.
One church in Idaho even sent him a new oven to use.
Through the years, the cookie master has baked 260 different kinds of cookies, though he said he usually focuses on about 40 varieties.
The proud Vietnam veteran said his days of service aren't over, he's just swapped artillery for ingredients.
"I'm proud to serve my country and I think I'm still serving by making cookies... I'm a cookie soldier now," Kellenberger said.