Monday, November 1, 2010

What to Do with Leftover Candy. Seriously.

Update:  I just mailed 14 and a half pounds of candy and toys to Operation Gratitude.  My kids happily parted with over half of their loot and a whole bunch of little toys.  They also made cards for the soldiers that brought tears to my eyes.  They got to experience the joy of giving in a patriotic way, we're all eating less candy, and there's fewer toys here.  It's a win-win-win situation.

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?

Right here:

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:
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
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.


  1. beanie babies for IED locations!! sign me up too! thanks for the info!

  2. This. Is. FABULOUS! Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Do you know if they have a program like this in Canada? I live in Canada but think the candy/toy switch out is a great idea.


  4. AWESOME! I'm posting that website to my Facebook Status! LOVE this!

  5. The simplegive link for donating for postage isn't working. I tried a few variations to see if I could help, but even their link from Google isn't working.

  6. stop saying candy

  7. I want to post to FB too, but the Share to Facebook quick link isn't' working (it's not pointing to blogger)

  8. Great suggestion, I am all over it! …And I was planning to take my candy to work to give to other peoples kids (as they were on the way out, of obviously!)

  9. I added their physical mailing address for financial donations.

  10. What a coincidence! I just found a huge box of beanie babies. Now I know what to do with them. Thanks!

  11. Hey! Thank you so much for this pointer. In our family we have both soldiers and civilian contractors overseas so we are already sending stuff to them directly, but this is a great way to help out even MORE people. Awesome!

  12. If the links aren't working for sharing on FB, just copy the http: address into the link attachment on your post. Such a great idea SRMM!!! Thank you so much for the information. The "Candy Fairy" comes to visit our house and takes away most of our loot in exchange for a small toy. My daughter has a peanut allergy, and 95% of what the kiddos bring home is off limits to our entire household. The Candy Fairy is doing a happy dance because she now has somewhere to send all this candy!!!

  13. Thanks. I was forwarded this note by a fellow MLMOM and we will be collecting candy at our next meeting and sending it off. I used a lot of your article to post on our bulletin. Crediting you of course. Thanks for the info.

  14. What a wonderful idea. I'm going to share your post with my wider network, because I'll bet a lot of them, like me, aren't aware of these great programs.

  15. posting this to as many sites as I can. Thanks. For the first time since my kids were babies I don't have to sneak in and steal handfuls at a time to throw away! AWESOME! (and it keeps me honest)

  16. This is awesome. I've got a huge box of Beanie Babies that I was holding onto for "investment" reasons. Well they are never gonna make me millions, but if they can help save lives, that's more dividend then I could hope for. It might be a bit more difficult to give up my, I mean, my KIDS candy. :)

  17. Thank you for making people aware of this. I followed a link from here and have now reposted about this on Facebook. This is a much better way of disposing of unwanted (or perhaps just unneeded!) candy.

  18. And I just found out that Noodles and Company will give a free bowl (for 12 and unders) for a donated bowl of candy. Also will take donations (without the free bowl) if you don't have kids. All donations are sent to Operation Gratitude, and saves you the postage. This is on Sunday at all Noodles and Company locations.

    Noodles has a FB account if you want to verify.

  19. REALLY?!?!?! I am so doing this!!! Not only do we have 2 bags of Halloween candy, we also have all the leftovers from my daughter's birthday (which falls the week after Halloween...monday to be exact). I'd love to get rid of it in a positive way...

    And I am totally reposting this to my page...and emailing it to EVERYONE!!!

  20. Thank you all for your enthusiasm about donating your excess candy to the troops! Apologies if the donation link was not working earlier. Here is a direct link:
    Operation Gratitude is also hosting a "Guess the candy Weight Contest" on Facebook--you can submit 5 different guesses on 5 different participating Facebook pages. Great prizes for the 5 closest guessers, including a $1000 donation to the charity or school of your choice! For more info:


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