Written byÂ Geoff PursingerÂ (The Times)
As school children across the area went door-to-door collecting candy on Halloween, Tualatinâ€™s Daniel Payne went with them.
But Payne isnâ€™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 Postâ€™s Menâ€™s Auxiliary, worked with student volunteers and members of the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce to collect as much candy as they could.
â€œWhen I went door-to-door and told them what I was doing, people were taking fistfuls of candy from their homes and giving them,â€ Payne said. â€œMore than one house just took their whole bowl of candy and dumped it upside down into my bag. They said, â€˜Oh, this is for the troops? Thatâ€™s worthy cause.â€™â€
Last week, Mission Mahalo received 177 pounds of donated candy.
â€œI love that Daniel went trick-or-treating with his kids, collecting treats for our troops,â€ said Jennifer Lamaye, Mission Mahaloâ€™s co-founder. â€œWhat a fantastic idea.â€
But that wasnâ€™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.
â€œThis is just precious,â€ Lamave said. â€œThey are so amazing,â€
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 MREâ€™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 â€” work that wouldnâ€™t be possible without the community.
â€œThis is a community effort, and weâ€™re one part of that,â€ Payne said. â€œBut it feels great to be able to help … The community is totally supportive of our veteransâ€™ causes.â€
Payneâ€™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.
â€œMission Mahalo has photos of troops receiving the packages, and they all have huge smiles on their faces,â€ Payne said. â€œIt is really touching.â€
The care packages should be shipped before Christmas, Lamare said.