It’s that time of year again. The trick-or-treaters have gone… but those bags of unused candy still remain! It’s so easy to succumb to temptation; that delicious, chocolatey, oh-so-sweet candy is just sitting there, and, well, of course you don’t want it to go to waste— what to do, what to do? Don’t let that leftover candy derail you from your goals. Instead, why not put that candy towards a good cause? Not only will your body feel better, but your spirit will feel better too! Check out a few ways to help those in need with your leftover Halloween candy!
Operation Gratitude sends over 200,000 care packages to veterans, first responders, wounded warriors, military care givers, and families of those deployed every year. With a mission to uplift the spirits of the military community as a whole, Operation Gratitude accepted 533,891 pounds of candy in 2016 alone to redistribute. To contribute, simply visit Operation Gratitude’s website to find a local drop off location in order to donate your unused Halloween candy for others to enjoy! While you’re at it, feel free to include other much-needed items such as letters, pictures, toiletries, batteries, socks, survival bracelets, and more.
Usually hosted by dental offices, Halloween Candy Buyback Programs exchange candy for items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, hygiene kits, coupons, and (in some cases), even cash! Enter your zip code at the Halloween Candy Buyback website to find a local buyback event near you!
Treats for Troops is a program run by Soldiers’ Angels which, similar to Operation Gratitude, collects candy for military members. Simply visit their website to enter your zip code in order to find a drop off site near you. Kids are also often eligible to receive goodies for their donation. As a bonus, you can get a tax deduction receipt for your donation!
Ronald McDonald House Charities serves to support severely ill children, as well as their families, during their time of need. At Halloween, many locations accept unused candy to redistribute to these kids in need in order to lift their spirits. Unlike most kids, these kids cannot go trick-or-treating. Call your local Ronald McDonald House to ask if they’re currently accepting candy for these children and families in need.
Founded in 2001 in memory of a Vietnam War hero, this organization supports service members with care packages, letters, and more. Packages of unopened candy can be sent to the organization’s Georgia headquarters. Specific shipping info can be found on the website.
Not just limited to Halloween, Operation Shoebox also collects candy at Christmas and Easter, as well as year-round. Operation Shoebox delivers “shoeboxes” to troops (and stockings at Christmas time!) filled with items, ranging from gum to instant coffee to toiletries. To see a complete list of needed items, visit here.
The Any Soldier program sends care packages (as well as letters) solely to military members stationed overseas. To send a care package, simply visit the “Where to Send” page of Any Soldier to request a soldier’s address. While you’re at it, feel free to visit the “What to Send” page as well, in case you feel like including a view other much-needed items to support our deployed military members!
If none of these options appeal to you, you can always reach out to local organizations to see if they’re accepting candy donations. Some options include: food pantries, homeless shelters, nursing homes, or retirement centers.
Of course, with the holidays just around the corners, another good option is to store that candy away! At Thanksgiving, you can fill treat bags for your loved ones or fun candy bags for the kiddos. At Christmas, you can use that leftover candy as stocking stuffers or to add to a festive gift basket!
No matter what, don’t let the holidays derail you. This time of year can be difficult to navigate, with Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and Christmas cookies. Just remember this: discipline means knowing the difference between what you want right now… and what you want most!