Leftover Halloween candy uses

Maddie Harris and Lauren Dyer

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For most students, a candy bar is just a cheap snack from the cafeteria. Yet for deployed soldiers, candy can act as a significant link to their home.

Soldiers’ Angels is a company that provides care packages with candy and other items to service members. In a phone interview, Michelle Chavarin, Soldiers’ Angels director of marketing and communications, said the packages are sent to locations around the world, from the Middle East to a Veterans Affairs event in Texas.

Soldiers’ Angels collects Halloween candy through the program “Treats for Troops.” Anyone can donate, but to volunteer for the organization, one has to sign up to be an “Angel” on the website (soldiersangels.org/join-soldiers-angels.html). Different collection sites around the country receive excess Halloween candy and deliver it to service members.

“[A soldier] actually took [and sent] a video right after they opened the box of candy,” said Chavarin. “It was kind of like a magnet. You just saw all of these other service members that they were working with just kind of appear out of nowhere and dive into the candy.”

Candy for Soldiers’ Angels can be dropped off in its original packaging for donation at Donlen, 3000 Lakeside Drive, Bannockburn, IL 60015, on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. until Nov. 15 or to Apple Dental Associates, Ltd., 712 Lee St., Des Plaines, IL 60016, on weekdays other than Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. until Nov. 30.

Another organization that sends candy to deployed service members is Operation Gratitude. Nancy Levy, Operation Gratitude’s director of donor relations, said in a phone interview they were given over 500,000 pounds of candy last year and will send about 5,000 candy boxes that say “Happy Halloween, here’s a sweet treat,” to deployed troops this year.

Operation Gratitude donations can be shipped for $15 per box to their Halloween candy program at 21100 Lassen St., Chatsworth, CA 91311-4278 no later than Nov. 8. Before shipping, donors must seal off the candy from the rest of the package and fill out an online donation form (www.operationgratitude.com/product-donation/).