The 6th year of Operation Troop Treats was a huge success! Kids and families across the country donated a total of 8,594 pounds of candy to their local Kool Smiles offices.
This year, we saw the largest volunteer effort to date including more than 450 participating Kool Smiles dentists from 123 office locations in 14 states and the District of Columbia.
While all of our offices did a great job collecting candy, we want to give a special shout out to the top three:
- Virginia Beach – 1,142 pounds
- Fredericksburg – 975 pounds
- Takoma Park – 460 pounds
Along with thousands of individual donations, several children partnered with Kool Smiles to organize their own community-wide candy collection drives as part of this year’s Operation Troop Treats.
Lauren Fenty, age 11, lost her father in Afghanistan when she was only 28 days old. Inspired by his memory, Lauren went in search of a way to support the troops and organized her first school-wide Halloween candy collection effort at John B. Dey Elementary School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Last year, her fellow students donated more than 770 pounds of candy. This year, Lauren collected more than 600 pounds of candy for the troops! Kool Smiles also gave Lauren a check to donate to her local Operation Smile chapter in exchange for the candy collection.
In Washington, D.C., Eli and Jonah Zucker, ages 9 and 10, came up with a plan to support U.S. troops while also helping U.S. hurricane and wildfire victims. The Takoma Park Kool Smiles office pledged to donate $2 for every pound of candy collected, up to 150 pounds. The boys collected more than 150 pounds of candy for Operation Troop Treats, and Kool Smiles gave them a check for $300 to be distributed to disaster relief organizations through Youth Venture, a youth social entrepreneurship organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.
Operation Troop Treats is an annual event that encourages kids to bring leftover Halloween candy to their local Kool Smiles dental office in exchange for a toy. In collaboration with Operation Gratitude, the donated candy will be sent in care packages to U.S. troops abroad, delivering smiles to thousands of American heroes.
In addition to the candy, Kool Smiles donated 200 dental care kits for service members, as well as the funds to cover the assembly and shipment of 200 Operation Gratitude care packages.
To learn more, please visit the Kool Smiles Operation Troop Treats website page.