Sweets soldiers

KALAHEO — Instead of stuffing your face with Halloween’s leftover candy, put a smile on someone else’s by donating your surplus sweets to American soldiers around the world.

Kalaheo Dental Group is hosting a Halloween candy buy back from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Kids can donate up to five pounds of extra candy. In return, they’ll get a dollar for every pound they turn over. They’ll also get a gift bag from Kalaheo Dental Group with healthy goodies, toothbrushes and floss inside.

“The candy is going to Operation Gratitude, and they’ve been sending candy overseas to the troops for 15 years,” said Heather Pearce, office manager at Kalaheo Dental Group. “Then a lot of the troops hand that candy out to local kids.”

In addition to shipping the soldiers pounds of sugar, Kalaheo Dental Group is going to add toothbrushes and other dental hygiene products to the boxes.

“Dr. (Michael) Lutwin heard about the program and he’d always been curious, so this year he said, ‘I want to be part of this,’” Pearce said. “And it’s not that we’re wanting to take all the kids’ candy away.”

The goal, she explained, is to get rid of the excess candy that sits around the house as a temptation weeks after the Halloween holiday has passed.

“Kids love candy, but when you keep it around the house for weeks, kids continue to keep on the sugar and that’s where cavities come in,” Pearce said. “It’s an overdose of sugar for the teeth, so it’s good to get rid of that surplus.”

The deal gets a bit sweeter, though, because in addition to the gift bags and the money that kids will get for donating, they also get a chance to enter a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to Kauai Underground Artists Studio.

A dental hygienist will also be on hand as the kids come through.

“This is the first year we’ve done this and it’s a really exciting event,” Pearce said. “And some of the parents have been saying that they’re already talking to their little ones about donating their candy, so it’s good practice for kids.”

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