In this year's "Great Candy Challenge," students from Regional School Unit 20 elementary schools contributed 602 pounds of Halloween candy for active-duty servicemen and women returning from overseas.

Members of Randall Collins Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3108, Belfast, collected the candy from participating schools and delivered it Monday, Nov. 10, to Bangor International Airport, where members of the Troop Greeters organization set it out for distribution to arriving servicemen and women.

The candy was ready — along with hygiene items, prepaid phone cards and other gifts — for troops deplaning at 10 a.m. Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Students at Ames Elementary in Searsmont, Gladys Weymouth Elementary in Morrill, East Belfast School and Captain Albert Stevens in Belfast, Edna Drinkwater School in Northport and Searsport Elementary collected the candy Nov. 3 to 7.

This is the third year in which local kids have brought in their Halloween candy for donation to returning troops. VFW Commander Jim Roberts said the "Candy Challenge" generated 152 pounds of candy the first year, more than doubled that to 360 pounds last year, and almost doubled that amount this year.

"Veterans are still serving those who are serving," Roberts said. "We know what it's like and how much it means to get gifts of comfort from home."

The VFW 's next project will be "Hygiene for Heroes," for which members will be collecting soaps, shampoos, white socks ("a very needed, high-priority item," Roberts said). toothpaste and toothbrushes, razors and other items for shipment by Dec. 1 in time for Christmas.

For more information, contact Roberts at VFW Post 3108, 338-2358.