Receiving a care package from home gives troops serving overseas a boost. Courtesy / Operation Gratitude

FALMOUTH — A small act of kindness by students at Falmouth Middle School is having a big impact on the morale of active-duty members of the military stationed around the world.

Each year for the past four years the Community Service Club at Falmouth Middle School has held a Halloween candy drive to support Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit based in California that sends out more than 300,000 care packages to soldiers, first responders and wounded veterans each year.

Each care package contains a handful of candy, along with other items, and the Falmouth community plays a role in ensuring there are enough sweets to go around by sending well over 100 pounds of donated candy to Operation Gratitude each fall.

Each fall, students at Falmouth Middle School collect candy to send to active duty troops. Contributed

Katie Coppens, a sixth-grader teacher and adviser to the Community Service Club, said the group collects treat-sized candy ranging from Skittles to Snickers on the two school days following Halloween.

“The program has become a tradition at Falmouth Middle School that allows us to come together and support our soldiers overseas by giving them a little piece of home,” Coppens said.

According to its website, Operation Gratitude started in 2003 and it’s now sent millions of care packages to grateful members of the military.

Its mission, the organization said, is to “thank every American who serves.” And a big part of that is the annual Halloween candy drive.

Coppens said local orthodontist Michele Shems pays the cost to ship the candy collected by Falmouth Middle School students to Operation Gratitude for distribution.

Coppens said the candy donation program is so successful that the nurses at Falmouth Elementary School also wanted to get involved.

They set up their own program for the first time this fall and were also able to find a local dentist to sponsor their shipping fees, she said.

Operation Gratitude has specific rules for sending candy, but can accept online cash donations to support its work. It also accepts individual requests for care packages.

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