Tomorrow morning, I’m going to be facing a ton of candy. Candy that didn’t get taken by trick-or-treaters (I always over-buy because I’m convinced that this is the year we’ll get a ton of kids). Candy that my kids don’t need to eat. And, incredibly candy that my kids just don’t even like. (Hello, Necco wafers.)
And I will eat it. (Except not the Necco wafers.)
And I really, really don’t need it. And honestly, even though my kids are pretty skinny, it’s not really good for them to eat a ton of candy.
One of my absolutely favorite organizations, Operation Gratitude, has a solution: donate it.
In our house, any leftover candy that I bought goes straight to Operation Gratitude. My kids also divide up their loot, and half goes to Operation Gratitude. We send it directly to Operation Gratitude, but there are also participating dentists who will actually give your kids prizes or cold hard cash in exchange for their candy!
Operation Gratitude packages the candy up with other supplies and sends them in care packages to U.S. military troops. Other supplies you can consider including are:
- Commercially sealed Lip Balm, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, mouthwash
- Beanie Babies/WebKinz or other small stuffed animals (troops give them to local children as part of community outreach)
- Hand-Knit/Crocheted Scarves and Hats (see more info here about their scarf program)
- Socks (dark colors are best)
- Small packages Beef Jerky
- Energy/Protein Bars
- Individual Packets of Hot Cereal
- DVD’s / CD’s
- Personal Letters of Appreciation
Operation Gratitutd is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based corporation, funded entirely by private donations. For safety and security, the assembling of all packages occurs at the Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, California.
To find the nearest participating dentist, you can enter your ZIP Code at Operation Gratitude’s Halloween Candy Buyback website. Tip: even if your dentist participated last year, please call ahead to make sure they’re still doing it!
If you’d rather just send your candy and other care package supplies directly to Operation Gratitude, you can send it to:
OPERATION GRATITUDE/ CA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
17330 VICTORY BLVD.
VAN NUYS, CA 91406
ATTN: RICH HERNANDEZ / 262-674-7281
Please note that all packages must be received by Operation Gratitude by December 5 in order to be sent out to troops to receive by Christmas. Operation Gratitude thanks you for understanding that it cannot pay the cost of shipping your items to its center. They also ask that you please complete and include a Donor Form with your shipment with your full contact details per donation.
Kids don’t often have something they can donate, and they love doing it. Operation Gratitude’s candy buy back is a great opportunity for kids to give something. It’s a great project for a scout troop or a classroom, too, especially if you send a card or letter with it!
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