Everyone seems to be jumping on the Thankful Train in November, including me and my kids. A few weeks ago I started to think of ways I can teach my kids to give back no matter how small. Fortunately, my children attend a school where giving back is important and part of their education. So luckily for me I didn’t have to look too far.
This year, our children’s school participated in Operation Gratitude, a program dedicated to supporting the military, to say “thank you to all who serve”. Part of the program looks for candy donations after Halloween as well as care package donations. Last year the program collected over ½ million pounds of candy! The soldiers stationed overseas look forward to the treat and they also hand out the candy to children in war zones. It’s a great way for the soldiers to build trust amongst the local people in Afghanistan, Iraq and other war torn regions of the world.
My kids love Halloween. They love picking out their costumes and dressing up; they love trick or treating with their friends; they love candy. They act as if trick or treating is a competitive sport, who can collect the most candy, wins.
Needless to say, my kids were a bit perplexed when I asked them to make a candy donation to Operation Gratitude. I explained the reason why and then agreed it was a good idea. Of course, they first donated only the candy they didn’t like but then they got into the spirit they started giving away their prized Kit Kat bars, lollipops, smarties and more. Soon they filled a 2 gallon Ziploc bag of candy leaving a bowl of candy for themselves. I was proud that they were onboard.
After an hour or so I noticed the bowl getting lower and lower. I thought that they decided to eat a ton of candy, in case I asked them to give up more. I asked what happened to the bowl and they said, “We wanted to donate more of our candy. The soldiers need it more than we do.”
Wow, I didn’t even have to prompt them!
For more information on Operation Gratitude, check out their blog:
By Claire Lynch