ATLANTA, Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care in underserved communities nationwide, today announced that children donated over 2,372 pounds of their Halloween candy through Kool Smiles offices to troops overseas. The program, Operation Troop Treats, offers children the opportunity to trade in their Halloween candy for a choice of a toy at any of Kool Smiles' 132 offices. Once collected, the candy was sent to Operation Gratitude for inclusion in care packages to U.S. troops serving overseas.
"We hoped that Kool Smiles would collect a large amount of Halloween candy for our troops due to the number of offices participating, but this amount has surpassed our expectations," said Operation Gratitude Founder and President Carolyn Blashek. "Receiving treats like Halloween candy lifts the morale of our Armed Forces, and Kool Smiles' donations and efforts have helped ensure we can send great packages to the troops."
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Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization that annually produces more than 100,000 care packages for U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way, their children left behind, Wounded Warriors, Veterans and First Responders.
"We are thrilled with the outcome of the program because of what it means to the troops," explained Kool Smiles Regional Dental Director Priya Grewal, DDS. "But as dentists, we are also very pleased that this program may have mitigated some of the impact that Halloween candy can have on children's teeth."
Kool Smiles also plans to donate funds to cover shipping costs and, in addition to the candy, has sent dental kits for the troops and hundreds of toys that will go to children of deployed soldiers.