Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween Candy Gives Back

Photo Credit: Operation Gratitude

Halloween - a time for small children dressed as adorable animals, teens wearing next to nothing and smashing pumpkins, and adults creatively wearing costumes that no one can figure out - or maybe I'm just over-generalizing.  Beyond the orange and black (a terrible color combination too), Halloween can also have a service component.

Dentists around the United States partner each year with Operation Gratitude for the Halloween Candy Buy Back program.  Started as a way to encourage less cavities and a reduced sugar rush, the program offers $1 from dentists for every pound of candy children bring into the office.  That candy is then donated to Operation Gratitude to send overseas to put a real smile on troops serving around the world.  Operation Gratitude sends thousands of care packages out each year brimming with toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste for oral hygiene as well as fun items such as handwritten letters, t-shirts, Beanie Babies, comic strips, and more.

As one of Operation Gratitude's many volunteers, I can personally vouch for how rewarding it is to participate with this nonprofit.  Not only do you get the chance to enclose a personal letter in each package of about 50 free items, but I've received packages back from Japan and Afghanistan from military service personnel who have received my box and written back to say how meaningful it is to receive a package.  This Halloween, consider donating a few of those sugary treats to men and women overseas -- maybe with a handwritten note and a picture of you in your ridiculous costume.

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