Monday, November 16, 2009

How See's For Soldiers Works

Hello Everyone,

I have had a number of e-mails and phone calls regarding the See's for
Soldiers program so I thought I would write a post to explain the program and its history. Many of you are old hands with this while some of you are new so this is for those newbie just joining us.

The See's for Soldiers program was the brainchild of my wife, Kathy, back in 2005. At the time she was a member of the Auburn Kiwanis club. I had just returned from a deployment to Iraq and she had been very influential in raising funds/donations for the troops and children of Iraq. She carried that on with the See's for Soldiers program. Let me make a clarification, we call it See's for Soldiers because it has a nice ring to it but we do not discriminate. We send candy to all branches of the military.

The first couple of years it was only offered in Auburn but more and more Kiwanis Clubs hearing about the effort in the local media joined in, too! This has been an instrumental program for the Kiwanis Clubs as it can send them over the top in sales. Just last year we raised 1,362 pounds of candy in the ten clubs that participated. The Lincoln Kiwanis Club alone sold 471 pounds of candy over and above normal sales! That loosely translates into an additional $4,710 in sales for just that club. The great thing about the program is these are additional sales that the club would not normally get. As they call it in the retail business, these are add-on sales.

We call it a Win!-Win!-Win! for all parties involved. The program helps boost sales for the Kiwanis clubs who in turn put that money back into their communities (ie: local clubs, chrities, scholarships, etc). It gives your customers a way to support our troops when many of them do not have a family member deployed or know a service member. It's an easy way for Americans to conveniently support the troops! Last but certainly not least, the troops get to enjoy the candy and many times share with the children in the countries they are serving - thus helping to spread good will. Win!-Win!-Win!

How do you make it work? The success of this program is really up to the members of each club and how well it is promoted. I can provide you a 42" x 60" vinyl banner that reads: "See's for Soldiers, pick up an extra box for the troops and we will ship it overseas." This can be hung inside or outside your sale location. Most of the Sacramento area clubs should have banners
from past years but if anyone needs one please let me know. I can also send you copies of letters from the troops that have received the candy to help legitimize the program which you can hang up or put on display. In your location, put up a large box (decorated in holiday or patriotic wrap) in a prominent location. After customers purchase candy they can place their donations in the box. Periodically I will come around two or three times during the season and collect the candy that has been donated. For those of you in Southern California, I will be getting a contact (most likely from Camp Pendleton) to gather candy. We will in turn ship this candy out to our
troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Walter Reed Medical Hospital. Many may ask if it is too hot to send chocolate. Not this time of year. I was in southern Iraq and at times, we had ice on the ground! I also distribute the smaller boxes and bags of candy to various organizations like Operation Mom to include in the gift boxes they ship. We have had customers ask how candy can be shipped to their family who is deployed. If you get a valid APO address I will do my best to insure that their unit receives a shipment.

Another good idea is to have a small donation jar or can that customers can put loose change into. Some customers don't want to purchase a whole box but will gladly give you some change. You can then take that money and purchase candy out of your stock to add to the donations. Some clubs have provided customers labels to put a personal note on the box or included cards
from children. I mix these in with the boxes I send out. I always include a letter in each case I ship to explain who the candy is coming from and an address so they can let us know they received it and that it was appreciated. This helps to validate the whole program and gives us POP (point of purchase) material for display the next year. I am also going to look into getting a poster produced that simply explains the program for the customers.

Let's talk a little bit about advertising. Getting the word out is important and helps boost sales. For those of you in the greater Sacramento area, my wife is the public relations gurut. Last year we were promoted on KNCI Country Radio and the Eagle (Classic Rock). We also got a spot on News 10 and Channel 31's Good Day Sacramento Show in addition to local newspaper articles. Kathy will work her media magic again and we may even be adding some other spots. The
trick is to use your contacts and promote the program. Kathy also has a press release that is available if you just e-mail and ask. Kathy will be happy to speak to any media on your clubs behalf.

Lastly, I am available to come speak to your club if you would like to meet me in person. I can be reached at the e-mail address you received this from or my numbers at the bottom. Some may wonder what is in this for me. As a Soldier and having been deployed I know what it is like to be away from friends and family during the holidays. It is comforting to receive a little taste of home and that people back home are still thinking of you. What I get is the satisfaction of helping make a difficult time a little less difficult.

I thank you all for your partnership in this program and I am sure that we are going to far surpass last year's donations by a mile!

SFC David Partak
State Retention Manager
CA Army National Guard


News Release
Date: November 5, 2010

Contact: SFC David Partak
California National Guard


Local Kiwanis Clubs, working with the California Army National Guard, will be supporting our troops with See’s candy for the sixth year this holiday season via their highly successful “See’s for Soldiers” fundraiser.

The fundraising will begin November 20th and ends when the stores sell out of candy, approximately December 24th - or when the stores run out of candy. Note: Dates for all clubs/locations will vary but will be in the vicinity of the dates shown here.

Many Kiwanis clubs all over California and the Sacramento region sell See’s candy as their major fundraiser for the year. The money raised through candy sales goes back into the communities in many ways. The public can purchase an extra box of candy, leave it in the store and the California Army National Guard will collect the donations and send them to the many units deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Walter Reed Medical Center. Everybody wins! Last year, See’s For Soldiers raised over $13,000 for local Kiwanis clubs and in excess of 1300 pounds of candy to troops stationed all over the world.

For more information regarding this very special fundraiser, call SFC David Partak at 916-267-0669 or e-mail at

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SPECIAL MEDIA ALERT: If you require more information and/or a jpg of previous year’s sales, please contact Kathy Partak 530-308-1448 or .