By Kristin Schultz
For soldiers deployed around the world and veterans in VA medical facilities, the fun and games of Halloween — the costumes, the candy, the tricks and treats — seem out of reach.
Siblings Brodie and Dharma Makarowsky are working with Soldiers’ Angels to change that.
Brodie, a fifth-grader at Craig Elementary School and Dharma, an eighth-grader at Van Antwerp Middle School, along with their parents, are taking donations of Halloween candy for the program Soldiers’ Angels Treats for Troops.
“I want to help people who are helping everyone else,” Dharma said. “My mom was looking online for a way to help our troops and found Treats for Troops. It sounded like fun.”
Both of Brodie and Dharma’s grandfathers served in the military, so the family feels a connection to veterans and veterans’ issues.
The Makarowskys set up boxes around their schools and promoted the candy drive during the morning announcements. Their fellow students started dropping bags of candy into the boxes. Soon they were filled with packages of Sweet Tarts, Tootsie Rolls, Twizzlers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and more.
From Nov. 1 through Nov. 10, they had collected 15 kitchen-garbage-bag sized bags of sugary delights.
The family planned to collect candy through Nov. 17, then deliver the sweet treats to Stratton VA Hospital in Albany. Some of the candy will be shipped overseas to deployed troops while another portion will be distributed to local veterans’ organizations like VFWs. The family will also hand-distribute some of the candy to hospital patients.
“You don’t need candy like [soldiers and veterans do],” Dharma said. “They’re saving us so let’s make them happy.”
This is not the first time Dharma has set her sights on helping others. She has also worked at local food banks and at Brookdale Senior Living. She says she enjoys learning about people and making them happy.