Asheville inn owners ship baked goods to service members

ACTIVE DUTY: The Lion and the Rose owners Karen and Steve Wilson bake cookies to send to active-duty military members. Photo from The Lion and the Rose

In mid-March, Karen and Steve Wilson were gearing up for a busy season at The Lion and the Rose, the 35-year-old Montford bed-and-breakfast they have operated since September 2018. But when the state’s lodging industry was shut down due to COVID-19, they found themselves with plenty of room at the inn and lots of time on their hands. “There was so much uncertainty,” says Karen. “We wanted to stay positive and do something good to take our minds off the bad.”

Because both their fathers served in the Army, she decided to look for a virtual volunteer opportunity where they could help service members and found Soldiers’ Angels, a national organization that provides aid and resources to active military, veterans and their families. A division of that group is Angel Bakers, which last year shipped over 2,200 packages of baked goods and other items overseas.

Inspired, Karen reached out to other inns across the nation to see if they were interested in baking for military members. She eventually signed up over 30 to help with her new initiative, Inn Support of Our Troops.

To kick off the effort, Steve — a craft beer hobbyist — incorporated his passion into a recipe for spent-grain peanut butter cookies. “I’ve been brewing for about five years and recently started offering my beers to our guests when they arrived,” says Steve. “Since we reopened [Memorial Day weekend], we’ve had guests taste-testing the beers and the cookies as we worked on the recipe.”

The Wilsons shipped their first cookies — minus beer — to two active-duty members of the Army they picked from the Angel Bakers database on the Soldiers’ Angels website.  “Anyone can do this,” says Karen. “You don’t have to be an inn owner, just someone who wants to send some home-baked goods to a soldier.”

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About Kay West
Kay West was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, StyleBlueprint Nashville, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. To kick off 2019 she put Tennessee in her rear view mirror, drove into the mountains of WNC, settled in West Asheville and appreciates that writing offers the opportunity to explore and learn her new home. She looks forward to hiking trails, biking greenways, canoeing rivers, sampling local beer and cheering the Asheville Tourists.

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