Operation Gratitude is hoping to send the troops overseas a sweet reminder of support: Halloween candy.
Southwest Ambulance, PMT Ambulance and Rural/Metro Fire Department are collecting Halloween candy Thursday and Friday as part of Operation Gratitude for care packages sent to American troops overseas.
“Huge thing for the troops to get the candy and a creature comfort from home,” said Colin Williams of rural Metro Fire.
Duty Officer Joshua Zayas takes a special interest in the yearly event.
“I served in the Marines and it was an honor to receive care packages,” he said. “For me, it showed me that people were thinking about and appreciated what I did.”
What’s interesting is that, once kids learn that their treats will make put a smile on someone’s face, Zayas said they are always more than eager to participate.
“Last year, kids actually wrote letters to the soldiers, airmen and marines,” said Zayas, adding that kids should personalize their gift with a little note for a hero.
Last year Operation Gratitude gathered up 3,000 pounds of candy for troops. This year the goal is to collect 10,000 pounds.
Collection times are 7-9 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. at each site.
• Southwest Ambulance and Rural/Metro Fire Headquarters
708 W. Baseline Road, Mesa
• PMT Ambulance
617 W. Main St., Mesa
• Southwest Ambulance
5222 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale
• Rural/Metro Central Arizona
5835 W. Palmaire Ave., Glendale
All 11 Rural Metro fire stations in Maricopa and Pinal counties also will accept the donations.
KTAR’s Sandra Haros contributed to this report.