Halloween Candy Buy Back: Treats for Troops

I have been busy planning the second annual Halloween Candy Buy Back for Omaha Emergency Dental. This year’s event is scheduled for 3:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Omaha Emergency Dental’s office on 84th & Center streets.

We will be buying candy back from trick-or-treaters for $1 a pound, up to 5 pounds of candy. We’ll also give everyone a free toothbrush.

Halloween Candy Buy BackThe treats we collect will be shipped to Operation Gratitude, which creates care packages for troops overseas throughout  the year.

People have asked me, “Why collect all that candy and send it to the troops? Doesn’t it hurt their teeth, too?” But most of the troops who receive the sweets are stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other remote places where chocolate and other candy are very rare treats. Sometimes they take the candy and hand it out to children in the neighborhood to build goodwill.

The packages also include scarves, cards, letters and other items, so the treats are much appreciated. Here’s a thank-you note from the Operation Gratitude Facebook page:

“Dear Volunteers: My name is Captain J.H. and I am a Harrier pilot in the United States Marine Corps from Ashland, Massachusetts. I am currently commanding the ***, ***, at Camp Leatherneck, AFG.

“I would like to extend a personal thank you for all of your efforts in Operation Gratitude. My company has been in theatre for over a month now and is spread out all over the operating area. As we have gotten settled in and the excitement of the unknown has calmed down, the Marines have had a bit more time to think about home. It was at this time we received a mail call that was beyond anything I have seen in the 12 years I have been in the Corps — Operation Gratitude for our company had arrived.

“The Marines have been overjoyed and elated to read the letters, try on the scarves and pocket all of the goodies they have received. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the magazine telling the story of each box and seeing all of the pictures of smiles and I want to thank all of you and the sponsors for your tremendous efforts. Every ‘Thank You’ truly does lighten our packs and make us stand tall and proud of what we do for our country. Thank you for what you do for us. Most Appreciative, Captain J.H.”

If you’re not a trick-or-treater, feel free to stop buy and drop off your leftover Halloween candy if you don’t want it hanging around your house. We hope to see you there!