BATAVIA – A towering inflatable black cat marks one of two donation sites for the third annual candy collection for troops, veterans and first responders by Abby Anderson, 10, and her brother, Bradley, 12, of Batavia.
Last year, the children eclipsed their goal of collecting 50 pounds of sweet treats by stockpiling 226 pounds with the help of the community and local area businesses.
They again are collecting unopened candy, gum and mints to be included in care packages sent by Operation Gratitude.
The 20-foot black cat stands outside their home located at 328 Douglas Road, where there’s an outdoor collection box. Expanding its reach for 2017, the duo teamed up with Batavia Parcel at 1921 W. Wilson St., which will serve as a second site to drop off donations. The candy drive will run from Oct. 21 to Nov. 5.
“The kids are so excited,” said their mother, Heather Anderson. “We had a banner made for the yard. I know they’ll hand out flyers at BatFest and walk the neighborhoods. They are hoping to collect as much as they can for their heroes.”
The duo attend Western Avenue School and Geneva Middle School North. When they stopped by Batavia Parcel for project flyers, Heather Anderson said the staff offered to set up a donation site. The new business just celebrated a ribbon-cutting Oct. 17.
Heather Anderson said they are accepting any type of candy except Pixy Stix, and leftover Halloween candy is welcome. She added she’s proud of Bradley and Abby and all the effort they put into the project, including hours sorting candy.
She’s pleased that first responders are included by Operation Gratitude, noting they have been working days nonstop. And she wants people to know they can sign up loved ones to receive free care packages through Operation Gratitude, a volunteer organization focused on thanking those who serve.
The Operation Gratitude website at operationgratitude.com/operation-gratitude states it sends care packages filled with food, entertainment, personal care and handmade items, plus letters of appreciation to veterans, first responders, new recruits, wounded heroes, their caregivers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home.