According to local affiliate KTAR News, over 15 local dentists have started “buying back” uneaten Halloween candy from Arizonans as a part of Operation Gratitude’s effort to send goodies to American troops who are spending holidays away from their families.
Operation Gratitude is a national charity that works year-round to gather donations for military personnel overseas. Since they started their Halloween Candy Buy Back Program in 2005, the organization has collected more than 130 tons of candy and sent it to the troops.
The program is ideal for parents looking to make their children’s Halloween stash just a little bit smaller — without being tempted themselves. To participate, residents simply bring any unopened candy to a participating office and receive $1 per one pound of candy, up to five pounds.
While it may seem counter-intuitive for dentists to provide candy for the troops, that’s essentially the point of the program. It’s a great tongue-in-cheek way to provide some type of distraction and enjoyment to those who fight for the nation’s freedom.
About half of adults say they visit the dentist every six months, but that number is even smaller for those who are deployed overseas. One would assume that all the free candy they’ll be getting will lead to more visits to the dentist when the troops finally arrive home.
According to CBS Philadelphia, Operation Gratitude does a lot more for soldiers than just satisfy their sweet tooth. Army recruiter Gary Paschall, who represented the charity at a recent function, says that the donations go a long way in helping the troops feel at home.
“They’ll send you anything from beef jerky to comic books, they’ll send you letters. It almost reminds you of basic training when you’re writing home to momma,” said Paschall.
In addition to the dental offices already accepting donations, local residents should be on the lookout for the Chandler Impressions Dental upcoming candy buyback event, which will feature food trucks, raffles, and obstacle courses.