Missing home-cooked meals is one of the downsides for college students venturing off on their own.
But a local ministry was on a mission this year to bring the comforts of home to California University of Pennsylvania students as they began their fall classes.
During the first week of classes, students were treated to homemade cookies, all prepared by volunteers at local churches. Greg McKim, pastor of the Crossroads Community Church in California, said the California Ministerium organized "Cookies for Cal U" with the Cal U student organization STAND, or Students Taking a New Direction.
McKim, and his wife, Debbie, started the program three years ago.
As students entered the Student Union, McKim said the aroma of fresh-baked cookies filled the air. And the best part about is that the cookies were free, McKim said.
He said many booths on college campus offer "free gifts" when signing up for credit cards or other promotions.
"While I was standing there, one of the students, a football player, looked at me and said, 'No strings for the cookies?' It was nice to be able to tell him 'no strings attached,'" McKim said. "That's one of the great things about this outreach, students getting to see in a tangible -- not to mention tasty -- way that people care. …