Too much Halloween candy? Most kids today have way too much “stuff” and Halloween candy adds to it. Using Halloween as a way of giving back the community can prove to teach kids they can do something small for someone who will appreciate their kindness and effort. I have seen many children excitedly give away some of their favorite treats to give to someone else…a valuable lesson we all can benefit from!
Operation Gratitude Operation Gratitude sends care packages to U.S. troops stationed in overseas and first responders stateside. In 2016, the organization collected 533,891 pounds of candy to redistribute! The organization’s mission is simple: to put a smile on soldiers’ faces. The website contains other important shipping info, and kids are encouraged to include letters and pictures, too, or check out the organization’s map for drop-off locations on their website.https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/halloween-candy/
Similar to Operation Gratitude, but smaller in scale, Soldiers’ Angels organizes Treats for Troops annually. Visit the website to find a donation drop-off point or register to start a drive of your own. https://soldiersangels.org/
Ronald McDonald House Charities
The Ronald McDonald House helps keep severely ill kids and their parents together during treatment. After Halloween, most locations accept donations of unopened candy for the families being served. You can search for your local chapter on the website but call ahead to find out the rules for dropping off candy. https://rmhfw.org/
Operation Shoebox and Any Soldier
These are two more organizations that collect and send care packages to troops overseas. Operation Shoebox accepts individually wrapped candies all year long. Meanwhile, Any Soldier allows you to decide which branch of the armed forces you’d like to support: Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines. https://www.operationshoebox.com/how-you-can-help/care-packages/ http://www.anysoldier.com/index.cfm
Finally, don’t forget about your local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, women’s shelter, food pantry, or retirement or nursing home. Your family can volunteer at some of these organizations and retirement homes always welcome kids who want to visit! Many of our local organizations accept donations of unopened candy for residents and guests. It’s worth calling to find out if they accept treats, which your kids can deliver with a note and make someone’s day brighter!