WHEATLAND – The amount of Halloween candy that kids will take home this week is staggering – we’re talking pounds of the stuff. For most households the haul is likely the last until Christmas if monitored by parental units, otherwise it will be gone overnight with some lessons learned at the subsequent tummy ache.
But what to do about it? It’s cruel to just take it away, right? But what if the kids could be involved in something bigger? Kids like to feel like they can make a difference and thanks to a program sponsored by Anderson Dental in Wheatland, they have the opportunity. Anderson Dental is getting involved with the program Halloween Candy Buy Back (HCBB). All of the kids at Libbey and West Elementary are encouraged to bring in some of their candy to be sent to American soldiers serving overseas. Whichever classroom brings in the most candy by pound wins a pizza party paid for by Anderson Dental.
Hygienist Bethany McVay heard about the program and asked Dr. Mark Anderson if it was something they could do here in Wheatland. He loved the idea and agreed to participate on one condition, “We’ll send candy, but we’re going to send toothbrushes too.”
The idea first started with Dr. Chris Kammer of Wisconsin back in 2009. He wanted to get some of the overabundance of candy “off the streets” and at the same time show our men and women in the military they were appreciated. The treats are sent to Move America Forward & Operation Shoebox who then ship them to the troops for the holidays.
“Mark has a special place in his heart for servicemen,” explained Sherri Anderson. “He is a veteran. He served as a medic in Operation Desert Storm. His dad was a pilot in World War II, his mom was in Waves (United States Naval Reserve), one brother served in Vietnam and another had a lifetime military career.”
In addition to the candy, kids are encouraged to write notes of thanks and encouragement to the men and women protecting our freedom. And it’s not just for the students of Libbey and West. Anyone is encouraged to drop off any unwanted candy or appreciative notes to the Anderson Dental office at 1950 South Street in Wheatland and they will take care of getting it where it needs to go. In order to get the candy to the organization on time for holiday shipping, all donations need to be received by Nov. 8.
As to the question, isn’t candy bad for the troops too? These Americans are risking their lives every day, a piece of candy donated by a child reminds them they are not forgotten and is a taste of home. Plus, as adults they know the importance of good dental hygiene, a piece of candy is not that detrimental. In some cases, the troops share the candy with the children who live where they are serving and sometimes have a very bleak childhood. Candy is a rare treat.
So instead of sneakily reducing your child’s trick-or-treating haul in the garbage this year, consider involving your child in participating in something bigger than themselves – thanking and giving towards those who serve our country.