Virginia Beach student collects candy for a cause

Virginia Beach's Lauren Fenty collects candy for a cause.

VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) —  A local 11-year-old spent the last nine days collecting your Halloween candy, and not because she has a sweet tooth, but because she has a sweet mission.

Lauren Fenty’s dining room table looks more like a candy shop these days.

“We have Skittles, mints, Twix,” said Fenty. “Everytime someone comes to the house my mouth waters but I know I can’t have anything to do with eating it.”

Instead of eating the candy, Fenty is donating it for care packages for our deployed troops. Fenty understands the sacrifice our men and women in uniform make. Her father died serving our country in Afghanistan and he never made it home to meet his daughter. Fenty was 28 days old.

“He’s not a good singer, that’s what I’ve heard. I heard that he ran a lot,” said Fenty as she opens up about what she knows about her father and hero. Inspired by her hero, Fenty went in search of a way to support the troops and organized her first school-wide Halloween candy collection at John B. Dey Elementary School at just 9 -years-old. This year, she collected more than 600 pounds of candy from fellow students, family and neighbors.

Kool Smiles Offices will accept her candy and in turn, writes a check for her to donate to Operation Smile, which does surgeries for children with cleft palates.

Her mother Kristen says she’s extremely proud of her daughter and her mission to help others.

“Kids who have worked for treats for the troops, donating or fundraising are realizing with a little effort they can make a big difference,” said Kristen Fenty.

With all of the donations, there is enough money to pay for 6 cleft palate surgeries through operation smile.

Since its inception in 2015, the community effort involving JBD and GNMS AVID students has collected 2,162 pounds of candy for shipment to troops and raised enough money, when coupled with Kool Smiles donations, to pay for 14 cleft palate surgeries through Operation Smile.