Spooked by the notion of your family eating every last bit of the Halloween candy your kids collect from trick-or-treating? If you have a bunch of excess sweets this season, there are various groups and organizations that are happy to accept your donations. From giving your goodies to U.S. troops, to stocking up your local food pantry, here are several spots to donate Halloween candy.
Where to Donate Halloween Candy
Various organizations that serve children, U.S. military troops, and the underserved will gratefully accept donations of Halloween candy. If you are shipping the candy, it is best not to include Pixy Stix or powdery candy, as they don't ship well.
Treats for Troops
Soldiers' Angels' program Treats for Troops offers kids the opportunity to be altruistic in support of U.S. troops. Many local businesses will accept Halloween candy from kids to send on to this charity. Dental offices often participate by providing items such as toothbrushes and floss, and sometimes even cash, in exchange for your candy. After the candy is collected, the businesses ship it to Soldiers' Angels who distribute the candy to deployed service members and veterans. Visit their website to search for a candy donation location near you. Their website also has information on how you can register your location to be a candy collection site. If there's nowhere in your vicinity to donate, you can also opt to mail your candy directly to the Soldiers' Angels Headquarters at: Soldiers' Angels Treats for Troops, 2895 NE Loop 410, Suite 107, San Antonio, Texas, 78218.
Halloween Candy Buyback
You can also support the troops by participating in the Halloween Candy Buyback program. Traditionally, dentist offices have participated in this program, but it is available to any local business. You can take your candy to a scheduled event in which participating businesses will buy it in exchange for cash, goods, or services. Check the Halloween Candy Buyback website for 2021 information on finding a buyback event near you, or to register your business to participate in the program.
Operation Gratitude & Operation Shoebox
Operation Gratitude hosts a Halloween candy give back program to provide "a sweet opportunity for grateful Americans to thank those who serve our nation." Yet another candy donation program is Operation Shoebox, which sends troops care packages year-round that include heat-resistant candy. You can send bags of individually wrapped candies to: Operation Shoebox, 8360 E. Highway 25, Belleview, FL, 34420.
The Any Soldier organization sends care packages and gifts to soldiers serving overseas. You can select a specific soldier or unit to send your candy to via their website. You can also include a card or letter to share your well wishes.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) provide housing for families who have to travel long distance to get treatment for their children who are severely ill. They help keep kids and their parents together during treatment, so that instead of having to work out living arrangements, parents can focus on their child's care. Though RMHC does not have a universal Halloween candy donation program, many locations will accept donations for the families. Visit the RMHC search page to find a Ronald McDonald House near you.
Many children's hospitals state on their websites that for safety reasons they cannot accept candy as gifts or donations. Before donating candy to a children's hospital, call or check their website first to learn their protocols.
Boys & Girls Club of America
Your local Boys & Girls Club may accept Halloween candy donations. They provide mentors for children, as well as various programs for sports and recreation, education, arts, health and wellness, leadership, and workforce readiness. You can find a club near you by searching on their website.
Schools and Colleges
Contact local schools and colleges in your town and see if they accept candy donations. Many elementary schools collect Halloween candy to donate to the troops, to distribute at school functions, and to exchange for cash at local dental practices.
Show your gratitude to your hometown firemen by donating candy to your local fire station. Check on your city's website for phone numbers of stations near you.
Food Banks and Pantries
Food banks and pantries share the same mission: to provide food to those in need. A food bank is an organization that collects products from the food industry and food drives and then distributes it to agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. A food pantry, on the other hand, is a specific site that distributes boxes of food directly to those in need in a specified location. Search for local food pantries in your area for where to donate your candy. It is best to call first to make sure that they can accept candy.
Share the Sweetness
The smallest act of kindness can brighten someone's day or make a positive difference in difficult times. Show your support by donating your excess Halloween candy, and spread the sweetness to those in need.