Spread the sweetness: Treats for Troops

Staff Sergeant Chad Janssen works to evenly distribute quart

After a successful “Treats for Troops” drive last November when 761 students at Las Animas Elementary pooled approximately 554.5 pounds of candy for a good cause, they’re at it again and inviting the community to join in on the sweet gesture.

The treats will be sent to troops overseas through Operation Interdependence. The organization, which has a local chapter in Gilroy, is a national volunteer-based program with a civilian-to-military delivery system that sends quart-sized bags filled with goodies, toiletries and handwritten letters to troops stationed in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.

Thanks to last year’s drive, Gilroy’s local Operation Interdependence (O.I.) chapter reported that the 554.5 pounds of treats was enough to supply their outreach efforts for seven months. Volunteers aim to prepare 1,000 quart-sized baggies each month.

“We set a goal for ourselves this year of reaching 1,000 pounds of candy so that we could supply O.I. all-year round, and knew that in order to get that much we would need a partner. We found the perfect partner in the Gilroy Mustangs,” wrote Diana Wolf Torres, a Las Animas parent and volunteer who initiated the drive.

Beginning this Thursday, Las Animas Elementary School and Gilroy High School will be gathering candy through Veterans Day. Members of the public who wish to donate candy to the drive may do so by dropping off their goodies at the Las Animas school office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The campus is located at 6550 Cimino Street. 

• A 501 (c)(3) nonprofit civilian-to-military delivery system that sends quart-sized bags filled with treats, toiletries and letters to troops stationed overseas. Christopher High School hosts an O.I. drive annually.
• The goal is to send 1,000 letters and baggies of supplies overseas each month.
• To make a donation, visit the O.I. chapter headquarters in Gilroy between 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at 8401 Church St. on the corner of Welburn Avenue. If you visit during off-hours, letters can be dropped off through a slot. If you have a large donation that you would like to drop off in person, call O.I. Site Manger Suzie Kugler at (408) 847-5906.
• Suggested items to donate: (Food) Individually packaged tea, cocoa, powdered drink mixes, single serving sized cookies, trail mix, Corn Nuts, small packs of almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, gum (Eclipse is a favorite), hard candy (sealed, no twists), microwave popcorn, granola bars, Rice Krispie Treats, beef jerky. (Supplies) travel-size shampoo, conditioner, gel, lotions, disposable razors, small toothpaste, dental floss, toothbrushes (sealed), sunscreen, bug repellent (small tube, non-aerosol), socks, Odor Eaters for boots, eye drops, Chapstick (with seals), hand sanitizer (small container), moist towelettes, baby wipes, prepaid international phone cards, decks of playing cards and small games.


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