Your unwanted candy could be enjoyed by our troops
Sponsored by Tonawanda Pediatrics, the Halloween Candy Buy-Back is celebrating its sixth year. After five successful years, this one is expected to be better and bigger than ever.
This event began as a promotion that had been planned last minute and was organized just a few days before Halloween. Dr. Michael Foley had just become the new owner of Winning Smiles and wanted to find a way to promote healthier eating habits for children while also trying to meet potential clients.
“It was just a way to get the word out there,” said Winning Smiles Relations Coordinator Chelsea Merlo. “Since then, it’s kind of grown dramatically over the years.”
Children and parents can bring their unwanted candy from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1 and Friday Nov. 2 to Winning Smiles, 3476 Sheridan Dr. in Amherst and receive $1 for every pound that they bring, up to five pounds.
Not only will this help children produce healthier eating habits, but will also help put a smile on the faces of many of America’s deployed troops. All candy that is bought back will be donated to Operation Gratitude.
Operation Gratitude sends care packages to deployed troops and their families, wounded warrior veterans and first responders. Much of the candy from the buy-back will be sent overseas to the men and women fighting for our country.
Last year, Winning Smiles collected 4,100 pounds of candy and has set a goal of 5,000 pounds for this year.
“It’s a great way to promote healthy habits among the children of our community,” said Merlo.
There will be several entertaining activities for families to enjoy at the candy buy-back as well. Each child will receive a free toothbrush from Winning Smiles and will also get a visit from Chuckles the Clown. There will also be prizes and giveaways.
Local military members will be attending the event with their military vehicles to help children learn what they do and how important they are to our country.
For those who don’t want to get rid of their candy, Winning Smiles will also take monetary donations as well. Operation Gratitude is located in California and shipping thousands of pounds of candy can get quite expensive.
Also, on the Operation Gratitude website, www.operationgratitude.com, there is a wish list of several items that the deployed troops ask for to be sent in their care packages. Some of these items include energy bars, hand and foot warmers and travel sized board games. If you’d like to bring an item that is on the wish list to the candy buy-back, Winning Smiles will be sure to have it sent to Operation Gratitude with the candy.
This year’s Halloween Candy Buy-Back will be featured on a popular cable television show. Children are encouraged to wear their costumes for the event.