179lbs of candy headed for troops

Amelia Earhart students collected 179 lbs of candy in November for troops. Photo courtesy Sandra Danciger.

Nearly 180 lbs. of candy is on its way to deployed troops courtesy of Amelia Earhart Elementary School students.

For the third year, students brought in candy they collected on Halloween or picked up in the post-Halloween weeks for a school-wide donation to Operation Gratitude, a Southern California based nonprofit that sends care packages to troops.

“It’s a good feeling to do something good and I wanted to instill that in the students here,” said 5th grade teacher Sandra Danciger who spearheads the school-wide participation.

“We try to have our students be global thinkers,” and¬†Operation Gratitude helps to broaden students’ outlook beyond the Coachella Valley, she said. Earhart is an International Baccalaureate (I.B.) World School whose curriculum places emphasis on cultural studies and the global community. As part of the project, students wrote letters to be included in care packages.

Earhart students have donated more than 500 lbs of candy during three Operation Gratitude collection drives. This year’s candy weighed in at 179.85 lbs. In 2010 they sent 181.12 lbs and in 2009 173.10 lbs was collected.

Unlike previous years, this year’s Operation Gratitude drive also called for bedding, clothes, and other supplies to help support east coast troops in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Danciger said. The school collected an additional 100lbs of supplies including blankets, sheets, toiletries, clothes, stuffed animals and an infant car seat.

Operation Gratitude was started in 2003 and has shipped more than 880,000 care packages according to its website.