REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) - Halloween activities have come and gone, and many of us may still have left over candy or have too much at home. The Madison School District #321 says if you want to donate any of your extra or left over candy, it will have a large impact on active duty military or our local veterans.
The campaign to honor these heroes after Halloween started six years ago after seeing a need in the community for a place with all the extra candy to go.
"We had a lot of people posting saying we've got extra candy, where can we take this? Or I mean, people around here are crazy, generous. And so we've got kids getting two and three pillow sacks full of candy for Halloween. And all of the parents are saying, no way, we're not keeping all of this. So looking for a place to donate both extra and stuff that wasn't passed out and about," Madison School District communications manager Jess Goudy said.
She says after deciding to collect the candy it was all about deciding what to do with it after that.
"Then a group of friends of mine, I used to live in Utah and I had a was a military wife and they were getting deployed and they were getting deployed right before Thanksgiving and they were going to be their first Christmas away. And so the thought came to me, maybe we could take all this candy and maybe we can combine it with Veteran's Day, which is just a couple of weeks away, and combine it into this kind of super project where we use the candy from our community and we use the amazing, innocent, thankful voices of the children," she said. "Some of the letters that they write and the pictures that they draw just incredibly touching. And so we use the students in the classroom and give them an opportunity to be grateful, to say thanks to a group of people who I mean, in my opinion, they can't get enough things. And so we shoot it out district wide, allow everybody, no matter the age, no matter the grade, to participate."
After getting such a large amount of support, as well as a cause, once covid hit the goals had to adapt.
"We've adapted things and we actually try to reach local veterans. Now we gather names and email addresses and addresses of local veterans, and we send a kind of a manila envelope sized package with candy and with letters and pictures and artwork from the youngest citizens here in our community," Goudy said.
She says you don't just have to be a student in the district to participate.
"We actually extend the invitation to the community as well. So you don't have to be in school to participate. You can write a letter, you can draw a photo, you come and drop it by the district office before November 14, both the photo or any extra Halloween candy. And we ship these off."
To donate candy, you can visit the Madison School District offices at 60 W Main St, Rexburg, ID 83440. If you have a student in the district, you can leave it at your child's school's office. If you want to have a care package sent to a veteran you know you can find the form through their social media here or on their website here.
Goudy encourages everyone to take part in this campaign.
"You hear of things like this all the time, but you don't see the full impact. And we're going to try to make it come full circle so that you can see just how amazing this is for people getting these packages. So get up, bring your candy, write a thank you note while you're at it and we'll get those put in the hands of veterans all over Idaho."