Wondering what to do with all that Halloween candy? Donate it to a good cause!
Operation Shoebox was founded in 2003 by a Central Florida military mom, when five of her children, and two son’s in law, were deployed around the world. Mary Harper learned from her kids that troops didn’t receive many care packages or mail. She rolled up her sleeves and started an informal care package project out of her living room.
While troops receive the very basic necessities like meals and shelter from the U.S. military, Harper realized the need to boost morale with practical tokens of kindness in the form of snacks, personal care items, entertainment and thank-you notes to men and women stationed around the world.
Click here to learn how you can donate your Halloween candy to Operation Shoebox
Operation Gratitude and Halloween Candy Buy Back
Operation Gratitude sends more than 100,000 care packages annually to U.S. troops stationed in overseas and to their children left behind, as well as veterans. The organization’s mission is simple: to put a smile on soldiers’ faces. Operation Gratitude accepts donations of unopened candy, and asks that you separate and mark “chocolate” versus “non-chocolate” packages. The website contains other important shipping info, and kids are encouraged to include letters and pictures, too. Worried you won’t get it together to send the candy by the mid-November deadline? Then consider the Halloween Candy Buy Back program, which benefits Operation Gratitude. Go to the website to search for a participating dentist near you who will accept candy in exchange for toothbrushes, coupons and sometimes cash. Important note: It’s imperative that you call ahead. Many dentists set certain buy back rules, like a maximum amount of candy or specific drop-off hours. Get the details before you go!
Ronald McDonald House
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.
Finally, don’t forget about your local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, food pantry, or retirement or nursing home. Many take 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 a non-cavity-filled smile