Local Helena businesses collect 55 pounds of Halloween candy for troops
Published 12:23 pm Thursday, November 5, 2015
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
HELENA–Halloween has now ended and three Helena businesses started a program called the Halloween candy buy back program to help send candy to deployed soldiers through the Operation Gratitude program.
Cahaba Dental Arts along with Wolfe Orthodontics and Jones & Associates, LLC in Helena set up a large tent in the parking lot on Tuesday, Nov. 3 where parents and their children could come by and donate a portion of their Halloween candy that would be packaged and shipped overseas to various locations where American troops are deployed.
Cahaba Dental Arts Office Manager Hamid Mashayekh explained that the dental office was not trying to take the fun out of giving candy away but the idea was to help give back as much as possible to those serving our country.
“Candy is a fun part of Halloween and we’re not trying to take the fun out of giving candy away,” said Mashayekh. “Instead of a single kid having three pounds of candy to themselves, we think they can bring some of it in and create a care package to send to Operation Gratitude and the Food Bank of Central Alabama.”
Operation Gratitude is a non-profit organization that helps send more than 150,000 care packages annually to veterans, wounded warriors, soldiers and more.
Children would receive $1 for every pound of candy brought in and they also had the opportunity to create letters and cards to be sent with the candy.
The was the first time the businesses participated in the Halloween candy buy back and Mashayekh said that for the first year doing the program, he felt like they met their goal.
“Our goal was to collect somewhere around 40-60 pounds of candy and we ended up with 55 pounds,” said Mashayekh. “People would just drop by and different times and drop off however much or little as they can and we ended up with a lot of candy.”
Mashayekh also said the dental office is planning to include toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss in the care packages along with the candy.