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."
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.
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 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way, to their children left behind, and to Veterans, Emergency First Responders and Wounded Warriors. The organization's mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our Military and their families the appreciation and support of the American people. Each package contains donated product valued at $75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship.