ATLANTA, Nov. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care in underserved communities nationwide, today announced a record-breaking 8,651 pounds – more than four tons - of candy collected during its fifth 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. To date, Operation Troop Treats is the largest Halloween candy exchange by a U.S. dental provider.
"This year's Operation Troop Treats was our biggest and best one yet," said Dr. Dale Mayfield, Chief Dental Officer for Kool Smiles. "It's heartwarming to see so many children and families in our communities giving up their Halloween candy for a good cause. We're excited to help promote good dental health habits here at home while bringing smiles to American service members deployed overseas."
The Kool Smiles family includes many veterans, in addition to active duty servicemen and women. Delivering quality care to military families is of utmost 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 2015, kids donated three tons of candy for the troops at Kool Smiles offices nationwide. This year's collection exceeded that amount by more than 2,000 pounds.
In addition to the candy exchange program, Kool Smiles is donating dental kits to Operation Gratitude, as well as the funds to cover the assembly and shipment of 200 Operation Gratitude care packages.
Since launching the Operation Troop Treats program in 2012, Kool Smiles has collected more than 12 tons of donated candy and sent 1,000 care packages to U.S. troops deployed overseas.
Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization that annually produces over 200,000 care packages for U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way. Since 2007, 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.
Operation Troop Treats is made possible by a generous donation from the Benevis Foundation.
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 200,000+ care packages to Veterans, First Responders, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, their Care Givers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. Each package is filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, as well as personal letters of support. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the Military and First Responder communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for civilians anywhere in America to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation. Each package contains donated product valued between $45 and $100 and costs our organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 1.6 Million Care Packages.
SOURCE Kool Smiles