Thank you so much to everyone who has forwarded, shared, and re-tweeted this post.
We have leftover candy. A LOT of leftover candy. Plus my kids scored lots of candy.
We don't need this much candy. I need to donate this candy to something other than my hips.
We will be sending all of our leftover candy, plus at least half of the kids' loot, to Operation Gratitude. It is sent to our men and women serving overseas and primarily used for them to hand out to local children. (Although if a little package of gummy bears brightens a soldier's day, then by all means, she should keep it to herself.)
There are dentists participating in a candy buy-back program, where they actually give your kid cash for the candy, and then the dentist sends it overseas. However, I feel pretty strongly that my kids can hand over the candy without being paid. Getting paid for being altruistic kind of takes the joy out of giving. But the candy buy-back program is still awesome and if your kid is money-motivated, then by all means take advantage.
You know what else servicemen and women need? Beanie Babies, Troll Dolls, and Webkinz and other small stuffed animals. Oh yes. And we have like 3,500 of them. Here is what a U.S. Marine Lance Corporal said about Beanie Babies:
"I live with 17 Marines and Sailors in one room. Everyone got a package and everyone loved it especially the cookies and beanie babies. The cookies are excellent and the beanie babies help us out a lot with the local kids. We give them candy and toys and they give us the location for IED's. Once again, thank you for everything and for all the hard work that you put into the package. LCPL ND"
Um, holy crap. You mean I can clear out some of our crap and possibly help save the lives of American servicemen and women? Are you kidding me? Where do I sign up?
To send in candy, Beanie Babies, and letters/cards of support:
Feel free to use any size cartons, whatever you have on hand or can easily find. The ideal size is 24" x 24" x 20" or smaller. Excess Halloween candy can be sent by DECEMBER 3 to:
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Charlie Othold: 818.437.6201
As you can imagine, Operation Gratitude sends a lot of packages overseas, and that costs money. It costs about $15 for each package they send overseas. To help defray that cost, you can make a donation to Operation Gratitude by clicking here. Operation Gratitude is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit, so donations are tax-deductible as provided by law.
According to the Better Business Bureau's charity review, 98 percent of Operations Gratitude's funds are used for their actual programs. 1 percent is used for administrative purposes, and 1 percent is used for fundraising. Operation Gratitude has no paid staff.
Additional Note: If you're having trouble with Operation Gratitude's online donation page, you can mail FINANCIAL DONATIONS (not candy!) to: Operation Gratitude, 16444 Refugio Way, Encino, CA 91436.