Service Project: Donate your Easter candy to the troops
Prep time: 5 minutes
Duration: 30 minutes (includes time for dropping off your package)
Lesson(s) learned: To show appreciation to those in our military
How we did it:
Count on Kids hopes that you had a great Easter! We sure did!
If you’re like us, we ended the weekend with more candy than we could consume in a year. Addie was fortunate enough to participate in multiple Easter events and she received 5 separate Easter baskets! That equates to a whole-lot-a love and candy. As we sat down to go through all the candy, I took the opportunity to talk with her about our military. Even though she is only 2 1/2, she has some concept of the military since Alex, her 18-year-old brother, has recently considered joining the Army. We had a wonderful Staff Sergeant visit our home to discuss what the military has to offer as well as the sacrifices they make to support the freedoms that we enjoy. Addie and I talked about making the “troops” happy by sending them some of our candy.
A quick internet search yielded an organization called Operation Shoebox. This great 501(c)(3) was founded in 2003 by a mom named Mary Harper who had multiple sons in the military. Mary discovered that while the military saw to the basic needs of the troops she believed that there was a, “need to boost morale with practical tokens of kindness in the form of snacks, personal care items, entertainment and thank-you notes to men and women stationed around the world.” It appears that the organization’s dedication has paid off since they currently ship between 800-1,000 care packages a week. According to their website, “In 2012, 114 tons of supplies were sent to hardworking members of the U.S. military around the world (About Us).”
Addie gathered up the candy that she decided to donate and put the loose candy in a Ziploc bag. She didn’t give up any of her chocolate candy so I bought a bag of M&M’s to send! Operation Shoebox indicates that they only accept wrapped candy. In other words, anything that has been opened will not be passed along to the troops. They also indicate that “heat resistant” candy is best.
We found a box that would fit all of our candy. It just happened to be a beautiful spring color!
Addie then helped me make a shipping label and seal the box. Candy donations should be sent to;
8360 East Highway 25
Belleview, FL 34420
When Addie walked into the local Post Office, she told the gentleman helping us, “My candy will make the troops happy.” Not only did he get a huge smile on his face but he proceeded to ask me about Operation Shoebox. I loved talking with him about their mission and the purpose of our package.
I love how this project gets your child to think about how important it is to show appreciation for the men and women in our military. They sacrifice for us every single day. Even though Addie will not be there when they open her gift, I talked with her about the big smile they will get when they receive it. It makes me smile just to think about it!
Have fun donating your candy and bringing a smile to someone in the military!