ATLANTA, Nov. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care in underserved communities nationwide, today announced a record-breaking 4,372 pounds – more than two tons - of candy collected during its third annual Operation Troop Treats. The program offered children the chance to exchange their Halloween candy for a toy at participating Kool Smiles offices nationwide. In collaboration with Operation Gratitude, the donated candy will be sent in care packages to U.S. troops abroad, delivering smiles to thousands of American heroes.
"For the third consecutive year, Operation Troop Treats continued to grow, as kids from around the country traded in their Halloween candy for a great cause," said Kool Smiles Managing Dental Director D Ray Gifford, DDS. "This program is a win-win for everyone: it encourages healthy habits at home while supporting our American servicemen and women abroad."
The Kool Smiles family includes many veterans, in addition to active duty servicemen and women. Delivering quality care to military families is of upmost importance to the children's dental provider, which accepts Tricare dental insurance for military members and has several dental offices located near military bases. Operation Troop Treats is a small way for Kool Smiles to help share a smile with those who serve our nation each day.
In 2013, kids donated two tons of candy for the troops at Kool Smiles offices nationwide. This year's collection exceeded that amount by more than 300 pounds.
In addition to the candy exchange program, Kool Smiles is donating 100 dental care packages for troops to Operation Gratitude, as well as the funds to cover the assembly and shipment of 200 care packages. Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization that annually produces over 100,000 care packages for U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way, their children left behind, New Recruits, Wounded Warriors, Veterans and First Responders. For the past seven years, Operation Gratitude, through the Halloween Candy Buy-Back initiative, has encouraged dentists to collect Halloween candy from their patients for donation to the troops. The Kool Smiles program is the largest Candy Buy-Back effort by a dental organization participating on a national level.
For more information on the program, please visit http://www.mykoolsmiles.com/trooptreats.
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 hostile regions, to their children left behind, and to New Recruits, Veterans, Emergency First Responders and Wounded Warriors. Operation Gratitude's mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 1.1 Million packages to American Military members.
SOURCE Kool Smiles