Costumes, Candy, and Caring

by Alessandra Cavalluzzi

This is my favorite time of year. While I love the warmer weather and extended daylight hours of summer, the colors and aromas of the fall season can’t be beat as far as I’m concerned.   Pumpkin pie, cinnamon, apple cider, and banana bread.  These are a few of my favorite fall things.  It’s also the season of Halloween, a holiday that I’ve adored since childhood.

I mean, what’s not to love about Halloween?  Children and pets dressed in adorable costumes, the ability to be someone (or something) else for a day, ghost stories, and the seemingly endless flow of sweet treats.   But for all its awesomeness, I’ve found in my conversations with people throughout my life that Halloween is a holiday that they’re either “all in” for or don’t care for at all.  As hard as I’ve tried over the years to convince the latter group, I just couldn’t bring them over to the “spooky” side.  But I think this year might be the year I succeed.  I have an activity that I think will win even the most-stubborn of you over to the candy corn and Jack O’ Lantern way of life.   For those of us who are already subscribers, it’ll make you love it all the more.

Operation Gratitude is a non-profit that collects leftover Halloween candy which they use to create care packages for American troops deployed overseas.  The candy is included in the packages with other necessities which arrive in time for the holidays in December.   Candy is also sent to the troops for distribution to children in the cities where they are stationed to help show good will on behalf of the US military.

This is an amazing organization that has been sending packages out to troops since 2003.  We’ve been running the Candy for Heroes drive at my company for the last 8 years.  It’s amazing the amount of candy that we are able to collect.  Let’s face it, how much candy can we really eat?  Most of it is thrown away after the 31st. Candy that otherwise would have been wasted (or eaten!) can be put to good use.  Operation Gratitude also sends 200,000+ care packages throughout the year to veterans, first responders, new recruits, wounded heroes, and military families waiting at home.  Since its inception volunteers have shipped 1.6 million care packages.  Amazing!

In addition to candy, you can write letters to the troops for inclusion in care packages as well.  This is a great activity which parents can do with their children, teachers can do with their classes, and companies can do with their employees.  Follow the link below more information on the 2016 Candy for Heroes drive:

So to recap, you can donate leftover candy instead of eating it (always a plus for me!) and brighten the day for a soldier who is far away from home at the holidays.  

What’s not to love about Halloween?