WESTFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – The Westfield Fire Department is encouraging children to donate their extra Halloween candy to U.S. service members, local veterans, and first responders.
Operation Gratitude is a Halloween Give-Back campaign that sends care packages with candy and handwritten thank you letters to U.S. service members that are deployed overseas and hand delivers packages to local veterans and first responders.
A 22News employee donated a large bagful of candy when she heard about the collection for the troops.
Westfield Firefighter Travis Lucia collected more than 100 pounds of Halloween candy on Friday and the care package concept is something that is very personal to him.
“I spent nine years in the military and 12 months of that time in Afghanistan. Receiving mail and care packages is an excellent motivator and a great way to stay in touch back home.”-Travis Lucia, firefighter of the Westfield Fire Department
“Operation Gratitude’s mission is to thank all who serve, forging strong bonds between grateful Americans and the heroes who serve and protect them. The Halloween Candy Give-Back Program provides every American child the opportunity to learn about service, sacrifice and generosity.”– Kevin Schmiegel, Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.) and CEO of Operation Gratitude said in a news release sent to 22News
If you’re interested in donating you can drop off candy at the Westfield Fire Department at 34 Broad Street now until November 5th from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information click here.
Operation Gratitude is asking that donations only include Halloween “fun-size” candy that is in the original factory packaging.
Do not donate the following:
- One pound bags of loose candy such as candy corn
- Halloween goodie bag toys
- Loose sugar candy such as pixie sticks
The candy will be bagged, boxed and shipped on November 6 to ensure it arrives at Operation Gratitude for redistribution by November 16. The care packages will also benefit service men and women at Barnes Air National Guard Base and Westover Air Reserve Base.