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National Confectioners Association Offers a Taste of Gratitude to U.S. Troops and Their Families

NCA and Operation InterdependenceĀ® to Ship Thousands of Pounds of Sweet and Savory Treats to U.S. Armed Forces at Home and Abroad

Contact: Susan Whiteside
(202) 534-1440

May 24, 2011

Chicago (May 24, 2011) -The National Confectioners Association (NCA) is making summer a little sweeter for thousands of deployed men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. For the second consecutive year, NCA is working with the national 501(c)(3) non-profit Operation Interdependence® (OI®) to send thousands of pounds of donated candy and snacks from the 2011 SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO® to U.S. troops and their families stationed domestically and abroad.

"We are proud to partner with the National Confectioners Association again this year to provide our troops with a little taste of home," said Karon Carley, National President of Operation Interdependence. "NCA's ‘Taste of Gratitude' program supplies delicious sweets and snacks and messages of appreciation throughout the summer, as a reminder to the troops that we are not only thankful for their services but honored to provide comfort and support in a time when they need it most."

NCA's "Taste of Gratitude" campaign is an annual opportunity for exhibitors at the 2011 SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO, the country's leading confectionery, cookie and snack trade show, to donate product to deployed troops, military families and veterans' organizations around the world. Exhibitors and show attendees also have an opportunity to write notes of appreciation to be included with the sweets and treats. With the help of citizens, organizations, conventions and programs like "Taste of Gratitude," Operation Interdependence reaches 15,000 to 20,000 troops each month. OI has distributed more than 2 million care packages since 2001.

"The National Confectioners Association appreciates the U.S. military and their families' ongoing dedication to serving our country, and the NCA's ‘Taste of Gratitude' program is a small token of our appreciation," said Larry Graham, President of the National Confectioners Association. "Last year, we sent nearly 20,000 pounds of treats to deserving service men and women, and we at NCA are proud to work with Operation Interdependence to provide a small taste of the 2011 SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO® overseas." 

The confectionery industry has a history of working closely with the U.S. military. During World War II, some confectioners who provided candy to the troops tucked hand-written notes into the shipments. These notes resulted in many long-term friendships, and this candy industry tradition gave NCA the idea to ask EXPO attendees to write notes of gratitude for the servicemen and families who will receive the care packages.

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About the National Confectioners Association (NCA)

The National Confectioners Association fosters industry growth by advancing the interests of the confectionery industry and its customers. Serving as the voice of the industry, the Association advocates for the needs of the industry before government bodies, helps the industry understand and implement food safety and other regulations, provides information to help members strengthen business in today's competitive environment and creates relationships between all sectors of the industry including manufacturers, brokers, trade customers, suppliers to the industry and our consumers.

About Operation Interdependence®

Operation Interdependence®, (OI®), is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides a means for the public to serve and support military personnel, their families and our veterans without impacting valuable resources. OI provides a secure and streamlined process for civilians to serve and support our deployed forces with Civilian Rations® from home, without overloading the military delivery system. It is the premiere delivery system that is logistically sound. Most people are not aware that sending packages and messages to the troops can cause a burden for the military, detract from the mission, and possibly bog down in the system and never reach the troops. Operation Interdependence works in concert with the military supply system to expedite packages to deployed men and women. With OI nothing is wasted, and items that do not meet OI shipping standards are given to military families and our veterans. Such donations represent 40% of OI's total distribution. Working interdependently with organizations, public bodies, corporations and the media, OI volunteers of all ages are aiming to reach all 250,000 deployed troops, every month. Since launching in December 2001, OI has delivered over 2 million C-rats® WITHOUT impacting military resources. For more information please visit the OI website at