Children and families in the Texarkana area will have a chance to exchange Halloween candy for toys and send deployed U.S. troops a “sweet” reminder of home this holiday season during Operation Troop Treats, an annual candy exchange hosted by the local Kool Smiles dental office in partnership with Operation Gratitude.
From Saturday, Oct. 28 through Saturday, Nov. 4, children and families are encouraged to visit the following Kool Smiles dental office location to exchange their Halloween candy for toys:
- Kool Smiles Texarkana –2400 Richmond Rd. STE 133, Texarkana TX, 75503, 903-306-0790
All area families are invited to participate and candy can be donated any time during regular office hours. All donated candy will be sent in care packages to U.S. service members stationed overseas via Operation Gratitude.
“We started Operation Troop Treats six years ago to promote healthy dental habits during Halloween, and to bring a little bit of holiday joy to U.S. service members deployed overseas who are not able to celebrate with family here at home,” said Dr. Diane Earle, Managing Dental Director for Kool Smiles. “Many of our Kool Smiles patient families and employees are current or former service members, so this is a small way for us to share a smile with our troops and say thank you to those who sacrifice so much to ensure our safety and security.”
In addition to the candy shipment, Kool Smiles dentists will donate 200 dental care kits and the funds to cover the assembly and shipment of 200 Operation Gratitude care packages filled with letters of appreciation, food, entertainment and hygiene items, and other sweet reminders of home.
Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization that annually produces more than 200,000 care packages for U.S. Service Members deployed in harm’s way, their children, Wounded Heroes, Veterans, New Recruits and First Responders.
“Operation Troop Treats gives children of all ages an opportunity to say thank you to the people who put their lives on the line for our protection, and to experience the values of service and giving in a hands-on and memorable way,” said Carolyn Blashek, Founder of Operation Gratitude. “We’re excited to partner with Kool Smiles again this year to send candy, smiles, and a whole lot of gratitude to U.S. Service Members deployed overseas.”
The Texarkana area Kool Smiles office is participating from Saturday, Oct. 28, through Saturday, Nov. 4, during regular office hours. Every child that comes in can receive one toy for every 25 pieces of unopened candy in its original packaging. The program is open to everyone, regardless of whether they are Kool Smiles patients. There is a limit of three toys per child and toys are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
In 2016, more than four tons of donated candy was sent to deployed U.S. troops through Operation Troop Treats. Kool Smiles is encouraging area families to exceed last year’s candy contribution.
Brushing twice daily and getting regular dental checkups is vital for people of all ages. However, Halloween is an especially important time for parents to pay close attention to their children’s dental health and sugar intake.
“Sugar creates a breeding ground for harmful bacteria in the mouth, which can wear away at tooth enamel and create cavities,” Dr. Earle explained. “Reducing the frequency of sugar intake can help combat tooth decay during the holiday season. We don’t want to take the fun out of Trick or Treating – just the cavities!”
For more information on the program, including the nearest Kool Smiles location, please visit http://www.mykoolsmiles.com/trooptreats.
About Kool Smiles
Kool Smiles is dedicated to creating a world of happy, healthy smiles. As a leading dental health provider, Kool Smiles’ mission is to improve lives by providing high quality dental care in a fun, compassionate environment. Kool Smiles dentists are proud to offer care to kids and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and Tricare. Kool Smiles also provides oral health education programs through partnerships with community schools and organizations. For more information, please visit www.mykoolsmiles.com.
About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude annually sends 200,000+ care packages to Veterans, First Responders, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, their Care Givers, and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. Each package is filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, as well as personal letters of support. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the Military and First Responder communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for civilians anywhere in America to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation. Each package contains donated product valued between $45 and $100 and costs our organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 1.8 million care packages.