Kool Smiles Sends a ‘Sweet Reminder of Home’ to U.S. Troops Overseas

Another Successful Year for Kool Smiles’ Operation Troop Treats

Kool Smiles dentists and staff members are a staple in their communities. Through volunteering, sponsorships, and participation in local events, we help local communities thrive.

Recently, Kool Smiles hosted its 6th annual Operation Troop Treats, a program 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 is sent in care packages to U.S. troops abroad, delivering smiles to thousands of American heroes!

As the nation’s largest dentist-sponsored Halloween candy exchange and with more than 16 tons of candy donated, it’s no wonder we’ve caught the attention of local media! Hundreds of local newspapers and TV stations across the country featured Kool Smiles’ dentists and staff members in community announcements and on their news programs this year.

  

This year, more than 450 participating dentists from 123 office locations in 14 states and the District of Columbia participated in Operation Troop Treats! 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.

Kids and Kool Smiles Working Hand-in-Hand

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, two Halloweens ago 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. Lauren collected more than 770 pounds of candy from her fellow students that first year. Now in middle school, Lauren continues to be involved in the Halloween candy exchange at the elementary school each year. This year, Lauren collected more than 600 pounds of candy and worked with the Kool Smiles office in Virginia Beach to send the candy to Operation Gratitude. Kool Smiles also gave Lauren a check to donate to Operation Smiles, an organization that funds cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries for children in need. Lauren’s candy collection efforts this year included outreach to her middle school AVID program, a social media and emailing campaign to rally greater support, and neighborhood canvassing. To date, Lauren has collected more than 2,100 pounds of candy and enough funds, with support from Kool Smiles, to pay for fourteen cleft palate surgeries through Operation Smile.

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. They approached the Takoma Park Kool Smiles office about organizing a candy collection for Operation Troop Treats in exchange for a donation to disaster relief organizations providing aid to communities affected by the recent hurricanes and wildfires. The Takoma Park 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.

To learn more, please visit the Kool Smiles’ Operations Troop Treats website.

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