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Candy Overload? Donate it to a Good Cause and Teach Kids a Lesson in Gratitude.

Oh. My. God. Becky, my kids have so much candy!! Between the school trunk or treat, the neighborhood trunk or treat and actual trick or treating, their stashes could probably fill a Costco-sized shopping cart! I am not about to spend the thousands of dollars in dental repairs that would most likely be required if they actually eat that much candy, so I'm looking into where I can donate. I love the idea of getting rid of the candy while also teaching my kids a lesson about giving. What better time than November 1st, the unofficial beginning of the giving season, and a month dedicated to being thankful for everything we have?

Here are some ideas on where you can donate:

1. Give Back to the Troops

Operation Gratitude- This charity sends candy to deployed service men and women. This is a small way that we can give back to the people who put their lives on the line for us every day. They also offer cash for candy. There are two Richmond area drop off locations:

Just 4 Kids Pediatric Dentistry and Sedation

10409 Midlothian Turnpike

Richmond, VA 23235

and

4301 W. Hundred Road

Chester, VA 23831

Soldiers' Angels-Treats for Troops- This charity's program sends candy to those deployed or to veterans at local VA hospitals. Richmond Orthodontics will be collecting donations at all three of their locations on Wednesday, November 1st from 4-6 pm. Pizza and drinks will be provided and they are also giving $2/per pound of candy donated.

4204-A Park Place Ct

Glen Allen, VA, 23060

and

8503 Patterson Ave

Richmond, VA, 23229

and

13901 Coalfield Commons Place,

Building 5, Suite 101

Midlothian, VA 23114

2. Support Local Homeless Shelters

Children in shelters often don't get to go trick or treating. Take the time to donate your candy and maybe a book or stuffed animal or two, and talk to your kids about how feeling grateful for all that you have.

Caritas-1532 High St, Richmond, VA 23220, (804) 358-0964

Home Again- 2 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23219, (804) 782-9778

3. Go Reverse Trick or Treating

Dress your kids up in costume and deliver your candy to a local senior living center. You'll make some seniors very happy, while teaching your kids that the holidays are about giving and not just receiving. Feel free to bring in photos and drawings too! Here are some local places to call to schedule your visit:

St. Mary's Woods- 1257 Marywood Lane, Richmond,VA 23229, 804-741-8624

The Towers Retirement and Assisted Living Community- 7015 Carnation St, Richmond, VA 23225, (804) 320-1412

Little Sisters of the Poor-1502 Michaels Rd, Richmond, VA 23229, (804) 288-6245

4. Donate the Candy to Community Helpers- Give back to your local elementary school, fire department, police department or EMTs by making thank you notes and donating your candy.

5. Make Baked Gifts- If you enjoy baking, you can use the candy in dessert recipes and then deliver them to friends, family members or to the seniors and community helpers mentioned above. Check these great sites out for lots of ideas:

The Unlikely Baker

Averie Cooks

6. Candy Exchange- If your kids are too young to get into the spirit of giving, but you really don't want them to have so much candy, consider this idea from my brilliant friend, Morgan. Kids can eat what they want on Halloween and on the day after, but on November 2nd they get to trade in their candy for a prize at the Dollar Tree or Five Below.

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Good luck with today's Halloween candy hangovers, ladies!

♥ Erin

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