Tagged: United States

How to Donate Halloween Candy to Operation Gratitude

Operation GratitudeHalloween 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
Halloween Candy
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


Fish Friday: Skate, a Chef’s Secret No Longer

Photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com

Photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com

Let’s face it, on the outside skate just doesn’t look good and, for many consumers, that alone is reason enough not to try.  Those who see past the thorny projections on its back and the shark-like composition of its body, however, tend to like what they find.

Underneath it all, the skate has a flaky, sweet white meat with long, separated strands that run along the line of the bone that make it easy to eat.   Yet despite the rising costs of other flaky white fish like flounder or trout, the general public remains, at least here in the States, skeptical.  As a result, skate is a chef’s secret:  a high-end meat that you can still get on the on the cheap.

(Still not convinced?  Check out this article from 1998 in which the New York Times called skate “elegant” and “A-list” or this 2006 article where the Washingtonian declared that skate has gone from “trash fish to treasure.”)

Despite it’s unpopularity in the US, Greenpeace lists several varieties of skate on its seafood red list due to unsustainable fishing practices.  Whole Foods, according to this Huffington Post article,  no longer carries skate because “[it] has been very overfished. The majority are caught with bottom trawls, which result in accidental catches and significant damage to the seafloor.”

With it’s profile on the rise among chefs across America and high-minded businesses and organizations pushing for more sustainable fishing practices, it’s only a matter of time before this bottom feeder gets its time in the sun.

Photo Above:  Emeril Lagasse’s Galician Style Fish Recipe from FoodNetwork.com.