Operation Sweet Tooth still rolling

Neighbors helping neighbors during COVID-19 pandemic

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The brainchild of Teri and Scotty DeQuasie, Operation Sweet Tooth events continue to lift spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo provided)

By Carol Mowdy Bond
Contributing Writer

When the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, Surrey Hills residents Teri and Scotty DeQuasie began preparing home baked goodies in their kitchen, and giving them away to hundreds of people. And they’re hoppin’ full of excitement with their latest plans.

Scotty is a retired truck driver instructor. Also retired, Teri says she has five children and 16 grandchildren. When COVID-19 hit early 2020, Teri and Scotty couldn’t be with their family members. So, they came up with a plan to fuel everyone’s desire for interaction with people, and they named it Operation Sweet Tooth.

Teri said, “I am a home baker, and I thought I would bake cookies and other goodies and give them away to our neighbors at no charge. I thought this would be a great way to bring a few smiles, and get to visit with our neighbors safely.”

The first week, Teri baked daily. And she offered the goodies through the Surrey Hills Neighbors Facebook page. Then she backed off to a few evenings each week. This went on for two to three months. People literally stood in line outside for blocks, wearing masks and social distanced from each other, waiting to safely pick up free goodies from the DeQuasie garage and driveway. Word spread, and KFOR News Channel 4 did a story on Operation Sweet Tooth.

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“People would drop off baking supplies by the boxes full. They wanted me to continue, so we did. We also took donations of food, cash, and gifts cards for a few families in need. I would post on the Surrey Hills Neighbors Facebook page, and within a few minutes, the donations for these families came rolling in. It blew up and became such a huge thing. We loved it so much,” Teri said.

The Christmas season came along, and Teri and Scotty realized Santa visits would be limited due to COVID-19. “We wanted to offer a safe environment for kiddos to visit Santa,” Teri said. Dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, they set up a photo booth in their driveway. Each child met Santa and received a free photo of him or herself with the jolly old fellow, and Mrs. Claus gave out cookies.

Now Easter is approaching. “Visiting the Easter bunny safely, like Santa Claus, well, it was a no brainer,” Teri said. So, Teri and Scotty are posting on social media again. Their plan is to offer free pictures of children with the Easter bunny in their driveway. At this point, they’re planning to make this happen probably April 20 and 21.

But before that, Teri and Scotty will take their Easter bunny photo op show on the road, going to Piedmont April 3 and setting up shop at the Old Store.

“We just adore our community, and this is a good way of showing our love and support for our community during these tough times,” Teri said. “And we would never turn anyone away.”