As school children across the area went door-to-door collecting candy on Halloween, Tualatin’s Daniel Payne went with them.
But Payne isn’t your typical trick-or-treater. The 57-year-old Tualatin resident collected candy for the Tualatin Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3452.
The candy was donated to Mission Mahalo, a Sherwood organization that sends care packages to troops serving overseas.
Payne, vice president of the VFW Post’s Men’s Auxiliary, worked with student volunteers and members of the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce to collect as much candy as they could.
“When I went door-to-door and told them what I was doing, people were taking fistfuls of candy from their homes and giving them,” Payne said. “More than one house just took their whole bowl of candy and dumped it upside down into my bag. They said, ‘Oh, this is for the troops? That’s worthy cause.’”
Last week, Mission Mahalo received 177 pounds of donated candy.
“I love that Daniel went trick-or-treating with his kids, collecting treats for our troops,” said Jennifer Lamaye, Mission Mahalo’s co-founder. “What a fantastic idea.”
But that wasn’t all. The VFW also donated $500 to the organization to help pay for the cost of shipping the care packages.
It plans to make another $500 donation in May to celebrate Memorial Day, and this winter, the VFW will ask local children to write letters to troops overseas to be included in future Mission Mahalo care packages, Payne said.
“This is just precious,” Lamave said. “They are so amazing,”
Since 2010, Mission Mahalo has provided care packages to troops serving overseas.
The packages include necessities that troops may not have access to, including laundry detergency, entertainment items, and personal hygiene products such as deodorant, toothpaste and body wash as well as food items for troops who often survive on military rations, known as MRE’s.
The packages also include items to help boost morale, such as letters, photos and other items to help troops remember there are people thinking of them back at home, Lamare said.
The organization has sent hundreds of packages over the years to troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Uganda, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Payne said he and the rest of the VFW are just doing their part to support local troops — work that wouldn’t be possible without the community.
“This is a community effort, and we’re one part of that,” Payne said. “But it feels great to be able to help … The community is totally supportive of our veterans’ causes.”
Payne’s father served in the military during World War II and the Korean War. Payne said the care packages mean a lot to servicemen and women who are far from home.
“Mission Mahalo has photos of troops receiving the packages, and they all have huge smiles on their faces,” Payne said. “It is really touching.”
The care packages should be shipped before Christmas, Lamare said.