Operation Gratitude

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Halloween Candy Program Media Kit

Media Contact Information:

Carolyn Blashek, Founder & CEO
[email protected]


About Operation Gratitude:

Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that sends care packages & letters of support to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Marines deployed in harm’s way, to their children left behind, and to First Responders, Veterans, New Recruits, Military Families, Wounded Heroes and their caregivers.

Operation Gratitude’s mission is twofold: to lift morale in the Military and First Responder communities; and to provide every American an opportunity to say “Thank You” to all who serve.

About the Halloween Candy Program:

Operation Gratitude is proud to present the Halloween Candy GIVE-Back again this year.

The Operation Gratitude Halloween Candy program started in 2007 with 300 participating dentists who collected and donated 20,000 pounds of candy to Operation Gratitude.  Since that time, the number of dentists who participate has soared to over 1,100 per year, and we have received more than 500,000 pounds of candy each year for the past three years!

We welcome and accept candy from anyone, not just dentists. We partner with schools, businesses, gyms, religious and civic groups, and individuals who collect the candy and ship it to us. Everyone can participate!

 The Halloween Candy GIVE-Back is a perfect avenue for children to learn about patriotism and service, as they donate their “hard-earned candy” to their heroes.  

We also encourage donations of oral hygiene products, particularly toothbrush/toothpaste sets, and other Wish List items.

The feedback from the troops is tremendous! The candy seems to impact them in several ways:

  • Halloween candy reminds the troops of home and the great traditions we celebrate at home–all of which they are protecting by serving in the Military.
  • Halloween candy is fun! Every service member has their favorites–and we send handfuls and handfuls in every package–to be sure that they will have a smile when they find their favorites; it is also fun for them to do lots of swapping within their units so that everyone gets their own personal favorite
  • We have learned from many service members that they give a lot of the candy out to the children in the communities they patrol as part of the “winning hearts and minds” campaign. On many occasions, the children and/or their families have then told the Americans where bombs and bad guys were hidden. So, the troops have written to us: “You are not just putting smiles on our faces, you are saving our lives.

We have been told the same thing with the Beanie Babies–which is why we encourage dentists and others to send us candy and Beanie Babies.


“I am one of the many Marines that you sent a care package. I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting us and for letting us know how much people support us back at home. 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”

“I have received your care packages and done exactly what you asked, shared them with my troops and even some local Iraqi children. I wish you could see the smiles a simple piece of candy and a friendly face can bring. It’s hard for these young children because all they have ever known is Soldiers and danger. Thank you! Sincerely, SSG S.B.”

We fully expect to receive another huge amount of candy this year similar to the past four years. We plan to assemble and ship 200,000+ care packages over the next 12 months.  Each package contains product (including candy) valued at $45-100 and costs us $15 to assemble and ship.

You are welcome to use photos and troop letters from the Operation Gratitude Facebook page as long as attribution is given to Operation Gratitude.


Participating dentists and other organizations can be found using this interactive search map:  Collection Sites

More details about the Halloween Candy program can be found here: Halloween Candy.

Additional Items:

Social Media & Internet Sites:

Website:  www.OperationGratitude.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/OperationGratitude
Twitter: www.twitter.com/OpGratitude
YouTube: www.youtube.com/OpGrat
Blog: www.OpGrat.wordpress.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/opgratitude
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/opgratitude