Halloween is arguably the most unhealthy day of the year. Tonight, children across the country will travel door-to-door collecting approximately 1.9 billion dollars worth of sugar and empty calories. While Halloween is a special, once-a-year celebration, donating most of your child halloween candy to Operation Gratitude can be a way to limit candy consumption while creating a teachable moment about the importance of giving back.
Operation Gratitude is volunteer-based organization that annually sends 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to US Service Members deployed in hostile regions. It is encouraged to include donations of dental hygiene products along with candy.
Plan, Prepare and Promote the Event
(1) Share this article with friends on Facebook and schedule a convenient neighborhood meeting place time this weekend.
(2) Put candy away until the weekend. Tell your kids you have a big surprise.
(3) Purchase heavy-duty, durable boxes no larger than 24 x 24 x 20 (weight not to exceed 50 lbs. per box)
At the Event
(4) Bring neighborhood kids together and show them this video to introduce Operation Gratitude. Tell them how they can use their Halloween candy to give back.
(5) Have kids write letters of gratitude to the soldiers to include in with the donations.
(5) Have kids divide their candy into keep bags (no more than 25%) and donate bags (at least 75%).
(6) From the donate bags, have kidsseparate chocolate candy and all other candy into separate boxes marked “Chocolate” or “Non-Chocolate.” (Remove all pixy sticks, as they cannot be donated)
(7) Adults should fill out this donation form to include with the boxes of candy. (Remember the box should not exceed fifty pounds).
(8) Send or deliver your candy donations by Mid-November to:
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Attn: Rich Hernandez
Phone: 262-674-7281 (262-OPGRAT-1)
If you would like confirmation of delivery on your shipment to us prior to receipt of our acknowledgment letter, please use the tracking system provided by your shipper.
(9) Make sure to reward kids with praise to reinforce the good behavior
I’m excited to announce that 1Aisle’s first Supermom, Jennifer Lynds, will be transitioning into her own weekly column called Food Family Fun. Jennifer is a wife and a mother to three notoriously picky eaters. From her community involvement and her own experiences creating a new normal for food in her family, Jennifer brings a unique perspective — the modern stay-at-home mom — and an organic understanding of family food issues to the 1Aisle food conservation. This week, I sat down with Jennifer to discuss the new column, food in public schools, and the biggest challenges facing parents today.
What do you hope to accomplish with Food Family Fun? What do you want your readers to take away from the column?
Parents are always looking for fast, healthy ways to feed kids. My goal with Food Family Fun is to gather and distribute useful food information for busy parents to improve the health and well-being of their kids. Instilling healthy eating habits in children is as important as teaching them morals and responsibilities. It’s not easy with picky eaters like mine; I win some and I lose some. But I keep trying, and I’m excited to share my experiences as well as the experiences of my awesome mom network with busy parents across the country.
What are the biggest food challenges parents face today?
One of the biggest food challenges parents face is definitely time management. Unfortunately, our busy lives can sometimes limit healthy food options. In my family, we have an 80/20 rule in place which is basically 80% healthy foods and 20% kid’s choice. I’m not a mother that will throw myself between my children and a candy bar, but I try to create teachable moments out of my kids bad choices, using the opportunity to help them make best choice for a given situation, and sometimes the candy bar wins and that’s okay. Julia Child said “everything in moderation including moderation.”
Lately, the food trend in our family has been to move away from processed food began. The move began with one simple step: no more high fructose corn syrup. The move was controversial at first as it basically excluded all of my kids’ favorite foods. But the controversy has subsided as we’ve been able to find agreeable substitutes and create an all-around new normal in the family when it comes to food choices. In fact, our latest venture — limiting packaged food items to 6 ingredients or less – has taken an unlikely turn, and my children have discovered juicing. We experiment with different fruit/vegetable combination to see what they like. I’ve found that involving my pickiest eater in the preparation process makes him more likely to try something which he tends to like.
Do you think we need to hold schools to higher standards when it comes to food choices, or do you think the responsibility is with the parents? Is there a disconnect?
We absolutely need to hold our schools to higher standards when it comes to food choices. I think society as a whole has the mentality that kids won’t eat this or that so feeding children processed food has become the norm. While I think parents are ultimately responsible for feeding kids, it’s not always possible especially with kids in school for much of the day. School cafeterias, like grocery stores, offer too many choices. I’d prefer that kids be limited to two healthy choices for lunch: a hot meal or a salad meal. It will not only make our kids healthier, but I think proper diet would also relieve some behavior issues as well.
What prompted the name change, from Supermom to Food Family Fun?
I felt the title Supermom was too divisive, too exclusive. There are so many moms who deserve the title “Supermom,” that it just felt wrong. I want the column to be inclusive, to bring moms and dads together to share tips and ideas about food and family that are fun and accessible.
Editor’s Note: The Supermom feature will continue to showcase healthy-eating solutions from America’s best mothers. E-mail dustin@1Aisle.com with your feature ideas.
Photo courtesy of Family, Fun and Food: Making meals enjoyable! from Mass Public Health Blog.