Children and families in the Norfolk and surrounding areas can send deployed U.S. troops their Halloween candy as a sweet reminder of home.
Operation Troop Treats is an annual candy exchange hosted by the local Kool Smiles dental offices in partnership with Operation Gratitude that encourages children to bring in their Halloween candy to several Kool Smiles locations in exchange for toys.
The collected candy will be sent in care packages to U.S. service members stationed overseas 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.
Last year, children and families in the Norfolk area donated more than 1,367 pounds of candy. Kool Smiles hopes to beat those numbers this year.
“We started Operation Troop Treats six years ago to promote healthy dental habits during Halloween, and to bring a little bit of holiday joy to U.S. service members deployed overseas who are not able to celebrate with family here at home,” said Dr. Ashley Nichols, Managing Dental Director for Kool Smiles in a press release. “Many of our Kool Smiles 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 will donate 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, as well as 200 donated dental care kits.
From Saturday, Oct. 28 through Saturday, Nov. 4, children and families are encouraged to visit the following Kool Smiles dental office locations to exchange their Halloween candy for toys during regular office hours:
Kool Smiles Hampton – 2165 Cunningham Dr., Hampton VA 23666
Kool Smiles Norfolk – 5900 E. Virginia Beach Blvd., Norfolk, VA 23502
Kool Smiles Norfolk – 2338 East Little Creek Rd.,Norfolk, VA 23518
Kool Smiles Newport News – 14346 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23602
Kool Smiles Portsmouth – 4072 Victory Blvd., Portsmouth, VA 23701
Kool Smiles Virginia Beach – 4239 Holland Rd., VA Beach, VA 23452
For more information on the program, including the nearest Kool Smiles location, please visit http://www.mykoolsmiles.com/trooptreats.
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.