SAMOPS members collect candy for “Operation Gratitude”

For DMU students and employees who over-indulged in buying Halloween candy, have leftovers and want to get rid of the temptation, members of the University’s chapter of the Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (SAMOPS) have a great option: drop those treats in the donation boxes outside the Student Education Center and library this week, Nov. 2-6, for a sweet cause.

SAMOPS collects wrapped store-bought candy during this annual drive, tagged the Operation Gratitude Halloween Candy Give-back Program, for distribution to frontline workers, military members, veterans and first responders. Last year, the DMU SAMOPS chapter collected 80 pounds of sugary treats; their goal this year is 100 pounds.

In 2019, Americans donated 361,000 pounds of candy to Operation Gratitude.

“The drive is important to SAMOPS members as it is a small way we can say thank-you to the service members who came before us,” says SAMOPS President Kendall Kelly, a dual-degree student in DMU’s osteopathic medicine and public health programs. “The military, regardless of branch or rank, is a community. We want to do our part to support that community.

“Also, if you ever had to endure consuming Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) for sustenance during training or while on deployment, a piece of candy really can make your day,” she adds.

Nationally, Operation Gratitude has other events and campaigns throughout the year to thank frontline workers, military members, veterans and first responders. During last year’s candy collection, more than 300,000 Americans donated 361,000 pounds of candy, packaged and distributed by volunteers in 30 states. This year, its organizers hope to assemble and deliver more than 26,000 sweet care packages to veterans in all 50 states and Washington, DC. The DMU SAMOPS chapter will ship candy collected on campus to the Operation Gratitude Candy Collection Center in Chatsworth, CA.

“SAMOPS is asking all members of the DMU community to say thank-you to our nation’s service members and first responders this Halloween season by donating candy,” Kendall says. “We know a simple piece of candy can mean so much more than that.”

According to its website, the Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (AMOPS) was established in 1977 to serve and represent osteopathic physicians in the uniformed services. Student chapters exist at 36 osteopathic medical colleges and universities. AMOPS focuses the attention of the American Osteopathic Association on the unique aspects of practice in the Uniformed Services by the more than 2,200 doctors of osteopathy meeting the nation’s military and federal medical needs throughout the world. AMOPS is the 13th largest divisional society in the osteopathic profession.

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