KALAHEO — All of the parents who accompanied their keiki agreed that the candy buyback was a good thing at the Kalaheo Dental Group on the second floor of the Rainbow Plaza, Monday.
“It’s only one day,” said Kelan Garcia of the Kalaheo Dental Group. “Unfortunately, they need to come in, today. There haven’t been that many kids coming in. I guess Halloween was really cut back, this year. But there were people who came in with candy that didn’t get picked up so that makes up for the trick-or-treaters.”
With COVID-19 safety measures in place, keiki were treated to a new way of depositing their candy as they unloaded their Halloween goodies into a long tube that delivered the candy into its collection bin.
“This used to be a carpet roll,” said Johanna Norstadt of the Kalaheo Dental Group. “This keeps everyone socially distanced, and the kids have fun watching the delivery.”
In exchange for their Halloween treats, keiki received a dollar per pound of unopened candy to a maximum of five pounds. Additionally, the Kalaheo Dental Group treated them to a goody bag containing a free toothbrush and other dental hygiene products and information. A selfie station with inflatable Disney characters rounded out the upstairs trip.
Candy sellers were also invited to sign up for a $100 Deja Vu Surf Hawai‘i gift certificate.
The day’s collection will be brought to the UPS Store at the Kukui Grove Center, one of the program’s sponsors, where it will be forwarded to Operation Gratitude for shipment to America’s Armed Forces. Each year, Operation Gratitude sends more than 300,000 individually-addressed Care Packages to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen deployed overseas, to their children left at home, and to first responders, new recruits, veterans, Wounded Heroes and their caregivers.
“I remember when we sent a shipment to Kaua‘i’s own soldiers who were deployed,” said Dentist Dr. Michael Lutwin. “That took a couple of days to put together. This year, the soldiers are at home, but they’re helping with the Hawai‘i National Guard with contact tracing and other duty during this pandemic.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.