Operation Troop Treats is an annual candy exchange hosted by the Kool Smiles in partnership with Operation Gratitude.
How it works:
From Saturday, Oct. 27 through Saturday, Nov. 3, children and families are encouraged to visit Kool Smiles dental office at 400 E. Diamond Ave in Evansville, to exchange their Halloween candy for toys.
All area families are invited to participate and candy can be donated any time during regular office hours. All donated candy will be sent in care packages to U.S. service members stationed overseas and area veterans and first responders via Operation Gratitude.
Every child that comes in can receive one toy for every 25 pieces of unopened candy in its original packaging. The program is open to everyone, regardless of whether they are Kool Smiles patients. There is a limit of three toys per child and toys are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Operation Troop Treats promotes healthy dental habits during Halloween, and brings a little bit of holiday joy to U.S. service members deployed overseas and those who are with us here at home,” said Dr. Sharlette Victorino, Area Dental Director for Kool Smiles. “Many of our patient families and employees are current or former service members, so this is a small way for us to share a smile with our troops and say thank you to those who sacrifice so much to ensure our safety and security.”
In addition to the candy shipment, Kool Smiles dentists will donate 200 dental care kits and the funds to cover the assembly and shipment of 200 Operation Gratitude care packages filled with letters of appreciation, food, entertainment and hygiene items, and other sweet reminders of home.
Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization that annually produces more than 200,000 care packages for U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way, their children, Wounded Heroes, Veterans, New Recruits and First Responders.
“Operation Gratitude’s mission is to thank all who serve, bridging the divide between grateful Americans and the Heroes who serve and protect them,” said Kevin Schmiegel, Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.) and CEO, Operation Gratitude. “The Halloween Candy Give-Back Program provides every American child the opportunity to learn about service, sacrifice and generosity.”
Americans spend an estimated $2.5 billion dollars on a whopping 600 million pounds of Halloween Candy each year.In 2017, more than four tons of donated candy was sent to deployed U.S. troops through Operation Troop Treats.
• Since 2012, children and families have donated more than 16 tons of Halloween candy through Operation Troop Treats.
• Since 2012, local dental offices have donated more than 1,200 dental kits to U.S. troops stationed overseas through Operation Gratitude.
• An estimated 2.1 million care packages have been sent through Operation Gratitude.