A “short and sweet” give-back campaign – “pun intended,” says Banks Elementary School teacher Ashley Martin – is collecting Halloween candy to include in care packages that will be sent deployed troops, military veterans and first responders.
Martin’s fifth-grade students have designed and set out pumpkin-themed donation boxes around the school and, with their teacher, are soliciting donations from outside of school.
“We are open to donations from the community and other schools,” Martin said. “Bring it here (to Banks) or if they call me, I’ll come get it.”
The deadline for donations is Wednesday. The collected donations will be shipped out Friday to Operation Gratitude, the national organization coordinating the campaign.
“It’s a way to give back a little bit,” the teacher said.
To help offset the high sugar content of the care packages, Martin and her class are also collecting toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss and have solicited those items from local dentist offices.
Martin decided to get her class involved in the collection campaign after hearing of a similar effort undertaken by a colleague in Virginia. “She was doing it with her church,” Martin said. “I researched it and decided to do it in the classroom myself.”
She’s turned the collection drive into a learning opportunity. In addition to designing the collection boxes, students wrote the letters to local dentists, created Halloween stories and produced a video for Banks’ Facebook page soliciting donations. The students’ stories were shared with kindergarten students, Martin said.
With students collecting more candy that they could eat – or more than their parents would let them eat – and with post-Halloween sales offering deals on candy, Banks’ collection boxes could make a sweet tooth ache.
“It’s turned into a big thing,” Martin said. “It’s an idea gone wild.”