Cahaba Dental Arts raises money, leftover Halloween candy for a cause

By AMALIA KORTRIGHT/Staff Writer

HELENA– Cahaba Dental Arts held their second annual Candy Buy Back from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 4. At the event, members of the community had the chance to bring in their leftover Halloween candy to be put into care packages for U.S. soldiers who have been deployed.

The Candy Buy Back was part of a nationwide initiative known as Operation Gratitude, which aims to meet the needs of U.S. military personnel and first responders and the event resulted in 72 pounds of candy that was collected.

According to Cahaba Dental Arts Office Manager Hamid Mashayekh, the Candy Buy Back promoted dental hygiene and went towards a good cause.

For every pound of candy that was given away, Cahaba Dental Arts paid a dollar and donated another dollar to a local food bank.

“Instead of there being one kid with eight pounds of candy, there are about 40 soldiers with a little treat in their care packages,” said Mashayekh. “We want Halloween to be fun, and we know that candy is an essential part of it. That being said, we figured that it would be good for kids to get a couple of dollars and help out soldiers that are deployed and their local food bank. We try to make it a win-win situation for everybody involved.”

“It’s exciting because when I was growing up, we always got way too much candy and it was always wasted. It feels good to not throw that away and to get to share that excitement,” said Cahaba Dental Arts employee Chelsea Winborne. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to not be able to participate in one of my favorite holidays. It’s fun to be able to share that joy.”

Staff members at Jones and Associates, LLC volunteered during the event. Wolfe Orthodontics and Alford and Barnes, LLC made financial contribution to the Candy Buy Back.

Helena resident and business owner David Abbott said that participating in the Candy Buy Back also helped to support local businesses.

“It helps all of us to get together and help the community. It’s good to know that there are people over here thinking about [deployed soldiers] and sending them whatever we can.” said Abbott. “The candy is going to rot your teeth. You’re not going to eat it all anyway. Why not give it to the troops?”