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Sugar Overload? Where LA Kids Can Donate a Portion of Their Halloween Haul

Make no bones about it—one of the best parts of trick-or-treating is combing through the candy haul to pick out your…er, we mean your kids‘ favorites treats. But to keep little ones (and yourself!) from OD’ing on all that chocolate, lollipops and gummy chews, why not start a new Halloween tradition and donate a portion of the loot to a worthwhile cause? It’s not just a way to get rid of any unwanted Good & Plenties (though, sure, that’s helpful too). Kids can also feel good about giving back. Sweet!

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude sends care packages filled with entertainment, hygiene products, handmade items, letters of thanks and non-perishable snacks to U.S. Troops, first responders, veterans, military families and wounded heroes and their caregivers. Included in every package is a handful of yummy candies—most of which are collected from their yearly Halloween Candy Give-Back Program.

Groups and individuals are welcome to organize drives for candy or send in donations on their own. All donations must be received by Nov. 8. For details and guidelines on donating your leftover goodies, visit their website below.

Operation Gratitude
Attn: Halloween Candy Program
21100 Lassen St., Chatsworth, CA 91311-4278
262-674-7281
Online: operationgratitude.com

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Operation Shoebox

Yet another wonderful non-profit organization, this group provides hands-on support for our troops deployed overseas and those returning home. They realized that while necessary meals and shelter are provided by the U.S. Military, our troops also need tokens of kindness to boost their morale, including care packages filled with personal care items, entertainment, thank you notes and snacks. Volunteers love packing up boxes with candy year round, but especially love doing so around the holidays and will happily take bags of individually wrapped candies off your hands for distribution.

Operation Shoebox
8630 East Highway 25, Belleview, FL 34420
352-307-6723
Online: operationshoebox.com

Soldiers' Angels

This amazing organization prides itself in providing aid and comfort to the brave men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, their families, and veterans. Among their many acts of giving, Soldiers’ Angels runs the Treats for Troops candy drive that works with local dentist offices and other businesses to accept extra Halloween candy from kids in exchange for other goodies. The candy is then put into care packages that are delivered to military throughout the country.

If you’re interested in donating your Halloween candy, please call Soldiers’ Angels at the number below or email them for names of participating businesses that are doing collections.

Soldiers’ Angels
210-629-0020
Online: soldiersangels.org

Halloween Candy Buyback Program

This program was started with the goal of promoting good dental health for little ones while also supporting our military troops. Participants like local dentists buy back Halloween candy from kids at scheduled events and in return give them cash, xylitol products, coupons, toothbrushes and various other types of creative exchanges. The candy is then distributed to our men and women bravely serving in the military.

To find a local buyback event near you, make sure to visit the site or contact your dental provider directly to see if they’re participating.

Halloween Candy Buyback Program
608-335-4241
Online: halloweencandybuyback.com

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California

Since 1974, Ronald McDonald House Charities has provided compassionate comfort, health services and housing close to medical care for millions of sick children and their families. Candy donations serve as an extra special treat for families who are understandably exhausted and stressed out while caring for their little ones. Contact your local Ronald McDonald House chapter to see if they’re accepting donations of unopened candy this Halloween season.

Ronald McDonald House Chartities of Southern California
323-666-6400
Online: rmhcsc.org

More Sweet Ideas for Leftovers:

-Contact local homeless shelters, soup kitchens or nursing homes to see if they accept wrapped candy donations.

-Host a lemonade and candy stand for charity and donate proceeds to a local children’s charity or animal organization.

-With the holidays just around the corner, store candy away until December and use it for a gingerbread house decorating party.

-Have kids trade in their Halloween candy haul for a gift from the Switch Witch, available in stores and online.

–Jennifer O’Brien

featured photo: Nina Hale via flickr

RELATED STORIES:

LA’s Best Trick-or-Treating Guide By Neighborhood

The Best Apple Picking Near Los Angeles

The Best Museums for Kids in Los Angeles

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