Illinois College - Home Logo
Open Menu


IC student group launches Operation Gratitude


For the third consecutive year, Illinois College’s Sigma Phi Epsilon Literary Society is teaming up with local dental offices to collect unwanted, unopened Halloween candy to donate to active military.

Candy can be dropped off at several Jacksonville area locations from October 30 to November 10 and will be donated through Operation Gratitude, an organization up that provides over 200,000 care packages to various military groups throughout the year. 

Blaire Long ’20 and Brenda Ruiz ’20, service co-chairs for Sigma Phi Epsilon, say their goal is to collect more candy than in previous years. The past two drives have resulted in 125 pounds of candy being donated. 

I would like to help bring as much joy and help to those serving overseas as I can. Along with collecting as much candy as possible, I hope to make people more aware that any little bit they can give will make a difference.
Brenda Ruiz ’20

Long and Ruiz said they worked to organize the drive with the guidance of Lori Large Oldenettel ’93, director of community engagement and service for Illinois College. Their efforts included contacting local dentist offices, putting together decorated collection boxes and working to promote the event in the community. 

Local area dental offices accepting Halloween candy donations are: College Avenue Dental, Lynch Family Dentistry and Groesch, Longos and Middleton Orthodontics, Dental Associates of Jacksonville, and Dr. Kevin Harrington. 

For more information about supporting Operation Gratitude, contact Lori Oldenettel at 217.245.3596 or

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Visit or call 217.245.3467 for more information.

Media Contact Information
Office of Marketing and Communication
Amy Jones
Assistant Director of Marketing and Communication