Beginning Monday, Nov. 4, kids can turn their Halloween treats into money for their school or cash for their own pockets.
For the sixth straight year, the Little Smiles dental office in Grand Haven is partnering with the community for Halloween Candy Buyback, an event that collects candy for American troops overseas in Operation Gratitude.
Schools will receive $2 for every pound of candy they collect, and the school that collects the most will receive an additional $500.
Community members will receive $1 for each pound collected at the Little Smiles office, 1203 S. Beechtree St. Kids can collect the money for their own use or donate it to a school.
Schools participating in this year’s Candy Buyback program include Rosy Mound, Peach Plains, Griffin, Lake Hills, Robinson, Holmes, Jeffers and Mary A. White elementary schools; White Pines Middle School; and West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics.
The event, which ends Nov. 6, is part of a nationwide movement of dentists exchanging candy for cash that started in 2006. Last year, more than 4,500 dentists collected 127.5 tons of candy for Operation Gratitude.
Little Smiles of Grand Haven collected 2,000 pounds, or 1 ton, of candy last year.
Paige Riopelle, the community development director for Smile Grand Haven/Little Smiles, said the program is an opportunity for students and the community to get healthier, as well as to support the troops.
“It’s important to teach kids about giving back to others,” she said.
Riopelle said the donated candy is shipped to an Army National Guard armory in California. The armory collects candy, Beanie Babies, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and other items, then packs them into packages weighing 7-8 pounds, and sends them off to the troops overseas.
Riopelle said service men and women sometimes use the candy and Beanie Babies to gain trust in foreign countries.
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