In partnership with Kids Helping Kids Leadership Academy Inc., where young leaders mount projects and raise funds to change the world, mom Laurie Restani led the candy drive in Discovery Bay Elementary, Timber Point Elementary, Excelsior Middle School and Marsh Creek School. Together, her confectionary corps collected 1,000 pounds of candy and packed them into 6,270 bags. The Blue Star Moms of Brentwood and Danville will ship them out to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s amazing how my small idea to collect excess Halloween candy got so big,” said Restani. “It all started when we had a small portion of leftover candy when I was helping Kids Helping Kids pack backpacks for children in Africa – and the idea came to me. All the caring people helped make it happen. It was great to see what we could do when we all come together for a good cause, to sweeten the troops’ Christmas.”
Kids brought so much candy to their school offices that collection became a daily chore. The community also pitched in with generous contributions to the drive.
“Dr. Sandy Bigman, a dentist from Brentwood, gave her patients $1 for every pound of candy they brought in after Halloween, then turned around and donated eight Hefty bags of candy herself,” said Restani.
“Junior Girl Scout Troop number 30-131 from Brentwood made a great donation of candy,” she added. “Laura Page purchased $100 in mints and gum, printed pictures and cards for our troops. Kids Helping Kids donated all of the drinks for our over 100 volunteers that spent four hours bagging candy. Aladino’s of Discovery Bay donated 10 pizzas. Parents, teachers and students wrote messages on cards that were enclosed with the candy.”
Discovery Bay Safeway and Longs, Safeway in Brentwood, Food Maxx and Target also made their candy and supply contributions.
“It’s been like this for Kids Helping Kids,” said Kids Helping Kids Executive Director Laura Page. “It took three cars full of candy to bring them in today for packing. I think the kids here really feel like they are making a difference. All the kids had fun working on this.”
Garin Elementary student Faith McShea, 10, came in with her mom, Katie, and brother, Tanner, 9, just to pack candy. “I made cards and packed about 100 bags, maybe more,” said Faith.
“They donated their candy after Halloween and were pretty excited to help out and show support,” said Katie.
Brendan Westfall, a seventh grader from Excelsior Middle School, said, “I’m exhausted but I want to help the soldiers.”
Excelsior Middle School P.E. and Leadership teacher Kim Karr was also busy packing candy bags. “It’s so neat that a simple thought turned out to be a big event,” she said. “There are 40 kids in the Leadership Class and they all showed up today. I would say there are about 90 to 100 kids, plus their parents.”
For more information, visit www.kidshelpingkidswithnothing.com or call 759-4809.