Hermosa Beach Students Share Their Gratitude


Each Fall since 2007, Operation Gratitude has been connecting communities with our troops overseas. They send donations to Deployed Troops, Local Military Units, Veterans, and First Responders. The goal is to forge bonds between service communities nationwide and civilians. 

Hermosa Valley Schools helped to show appreciation by donating candy and writing letters.

Candy Drive
Fourth grade student James B. donates candy for the Operation Gratitude Candy Drive (Photo Courtesy of Megan Zimmer)

“Last year [Hermosa Beach schools] donated 1500 pounds of candy and 495 letters,” said Courtney Shott, HVPTO VP of Community Service.

She asked everyone writing a letter to, ” express [their] gratitude, share hopeful messages and positive thoughts.”

This year many classrooms participated in the letter writing campaign, including Kelley Bell’s STEAM students.

“You can buy candy everywhere, but you can’t get a letter from a student like you can through this activity that the PTO does with the students,” said Mrs. Bell.

The activity benefits both the deployed military and Hermosa Beach students.

“I like for my students to [participate], because it gives them an opportunity to use some of their graphic arts skills and photography skills,” Mrs. Bell said.

Eighth grade student Trey C. writes a letter to deployed troops. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa C.)                  

This year, Hermosa Beach was matched up with a National Guard unit in Long Beach. Hermosa Beach PTO delivered the candy donations to the Unit directly. 

Due to COVID-19 HVPTO did not expect to receive as much candy as they have in the past years. This year they delivered over 600 pounds of candy. 

Hermosa Beach Schools donated over 600 pounds of candy and nearly 400 letters for the Operation Gratitude Halloween Candy Give Back Program.

HVPTO has collected nearly 400 letters. Students have either written digital or handwritten letters. The digital letters will be printed and placed in care packages. Operation Gratitude appreciates families who have written  letters and donated candy.