Many of the service men and women stationed in Colorado Springs are deployed overseas in Afghanistan. Every year they receive holiday care packages through Operation Gratitude which include Halloween candy donated by children and their parents from their excess trick or treat bounty. Last year 150,000 packages were sent to the troops which included 125 tons of candy. The troops enjoy the candy and often they give the candy to the children they encounter.
The local Colorado Springs sponsor for the Halloween candy buyback, as in years past, was Cheyenne Mountain Dental Center located in Southwest Colorado Springs close to Fort Carson. Cheyenne Mountain Dental Center has supported this worthwhile program from its beginning in 2007. Each year they set a goal to exceed the previous year’s total donated amount. Interested children were invited to bring their unopened candy to Cheyenne Mountain Dental Center on November 1st, 2nd or 5th . They brought in 227 pounds of candy this year!
Children bringing in their excess Halloween bounty received $1.00 per pound of candy donated to Operation Gratitude, plus each child received a free gift bag with a Firefly flashing light toothbrush, tooth paste, stickers and fun flossers.
In addition to candy, Operation Gratitudestates that the troops can also use lip balm, small stuffed toys, hand knit scarves and hats, beef jerky, socks, energy bars and personal thank you letters. Cheyenne Mountain Dental Center ships all donations along with toothbrushes to Operation Gratitude who will put together the care packages. The staff at Cheyenne Mountain Dental Center sincerely thanks everyone that got involved with this worthy effort to support out troops.
Operation Gratitude annually sends care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions, to their children left behind and to Wounded Warriors recuperating in Transition Units. Our mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 725,000 packages to American Military deployed overseas.