Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) – Your extra Halloween candy could help put a smile on the faces of troops serving overseas. The Kool Smiles Dental Clinic in Fort Wayne is part of a nationwide program Treats for Troops. “We work in conjunction with Operation Gratitude,” said Jill Park from Kool Smiles. “We send them all the candy along with dental kits because we want the soldiers to have healthy teeth too and they put them together and deliver care packages. They also put other little goodies and letters of appreciation and send them overseas.”
Long before the treats for troops program started, veteran Ori Robles received treats from family members while serving in Vietnam. He likes the mission behind the Treats for Troops program. “I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Robles. “There are a lot of troops overseas who eat candy. The package is a reminder of home. It makes me feel good and reminds me of when I was overseas and I was grateful that people would send things to us.”
Robles was at the clinic when a two year old stopped by with his family to make a donation. Robles saluted the toddler and the toddler saluted back. “I hope that one of these days he’ll understand what I went through,” said Robles. “We respect them,” said Parks “And we’re so grateful for everything that they do for us. “We’ve been doing this 2012 and we’ve actually given over 12 tons of candy to our soldiers. The Kool Smiles all over the country participate.”
For every 25 pieces of candy donated, a child is given a small prize as a way to say thank you for the donation. Operation Troop Treats begins Saturday, October 28th. You can drop off candy at the clinic at the Kool Smiles Dental Clinic at1852 Bluffton Road during posted business hours. Donations will be accepted through November 4th.