Program to send treats overseas
Marine Angel teams up with Jewel-Osco for Halloween

October 18, 2007
By Emily McFarlan Staff writer

While you're buying candy for trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood, Shelly Collins of Operation Marine Angel hopes you'll also pick up a treat for the children in Afghanistan.

The Naperville-based group is collecting hard candy through Nov. 15 to send to the 1st Battalion/3rd Marines in Afghanistan to distribute to children there.

"It's the month of October, and we got to talking about how we buy so much candy for the kids here, and we thought, 'What about the kids in Afghanistan?'" Collins said.

Operation Marine Angel collects school supplies, clothing, toiletries and other items to send to Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq throughout the year. But there are never enough backpacks or pairs of shoes for every child the Marines encounter, Collins said, and she wanted to send something that would make each child feel special.

"Every child can get a piece of candy, and every piece of candy puts a smile on a child's face," Collins said.

The group is asking for bags of hard candies, such as Jolly Ranchers, Sour Balls, lollipops, jawbreakers and gum.

Operation Marine Angel also has secured three Shop & Share days with Jewel-Osco. Shoppers can present a coupon from the group at any Jewel-Osco store from Oct. 28 to 31, and the group will receive 5 percent of their total purchases.

"Donate a bag of candy, and use a coupon besides," Collins said.

Operation Marine Angel began last year when Collins' son, U.S. Marine Sgt. Michael Daniel-Collins, was deployed to Afghanistan and asked her to send him things he could give away to the Afghani people instead of care packages.

Last month alone, Operation Marine Angel sent 75 boxes of donated items - costing more than $900 - to Daniel-Collins' former major, Maj. Bart Battista, currently stationed in Afghanistan. After a third tour of duty in overseas, Daniel-Collins recently returned to the U.S., where he is based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay.

Contact Emily McFarlan at or 630-416-5196.