What a glorious day we’ve had, here at the Wellesley Dental Group, with the grand finale of the 7th Annual Community Candy Drive! This is the day we have been working towards for the past month, to bring together schools and organizations from nine towns, in a reflection of our love and gratitude towards our Troops.
First things first – The final weight of the candy this year was approximately 7650 pounds! This is more than the weight of a Kiowa Warrior helicopter! This came as no surprise to us, as, in the last ten days, we have seen candy and cards pouring in from across the MetroWest region. Today we were able to display it all, with a pyramid of Candy outdoors, and a beautifully touching exhibit of hand-made cards and letters inside.
The event started with a striking rendition of the national anthem by the immensely talented seven-year old Wellesley Elementary School student, Evan Lariviere. The Wellesley High School Keynote Singers Club was present, and performed America the Beautiful. Both performances gave us goosebumps, especially with the soldiers present standing at attention, and saluting!
Speakers at the event included Wellesley Selectman Ellen Gibbs, who commended the Wellesley Dental Group and all participating towns in coming together for the cause. Dr. David Lussier, School Superintendent Wellesley, also spoke, highlighting how almost every person present would be able to trace their lineage back to a Veteran. The President of Care Packs, a non-profit organization that creates and sends individual packages to soldiers, Mr. Rick Bruce, thanked the community for contributing each year, and relayed how candy from past years has made thousands of soldiers happy.
The highlight of the event, though, was definitely the presence of the US Marines, Army and the National Guards, the American Legion, the Wellesley Fire Department and the Wellesley Police department. Community members and children enjoyed personally interacting with Veterans and soldiers on active duty, and getting their photographs taken in front of the huge candy display! A four-year old baby girl shyly saying ‘Hello Soldier’ to one of our guests, who happened to be in full uniform, was the cutest thing imaginable!
The event ended with a prize giving ceremony sponsored by the team at the Wellesley Dental Group, rewarding the students present at the event for their contribution to the cause, and awarding certificates to participating schools and organizations. It could not have been possible without the involvement of School Superintendents, Principals, and PTOs from all participating towns, but we also salute the children, who have, as always, taught us that age does not govern love, generosity, or empathy.
As a five year old student wrote in one of the cards:
“Dear Soldier, I hope you like candy!”
We hope so too!