This Halloween, share their treats and save their teeth

With Halloween approaching over the weekend, and this week devoted to all of the parties and festivities, the candy corn and orange marsh mellow pumpkins are most likely starting to pile up. While we want our children to enjoy occasional treats, having Halloween candy hanging around the house for days, even weeks, may trigger continued sugar noshing habits and undo many of our sweets limitation rules.

What then to do with the avalanche of candy that seems to be piling up?
We have discovered many wonderful charitable organizations that will accept Halloween candy donations. It is a wonderful way for your child to enjoy a small, controlled portion of their treats and experience the joy of sharing with others.

Here are a few wonderful ideas and organizations accepting Halloween candy donations:

—   Local Homeless Shelters
Many local homeless shelters will accept your Halloween candy, especially those that serve meals or have a food drive.

—   Ronald McDonald House Charities
This wonderful organization helps keep children with life threatening diseases and their families together during medical treatments. After Halloween, most locations accept donations of unopened candy for the families being helped. You can search for your local chapter on the website but you may want to call ahead to find out the specific rules for dropping off or shipping candy.

—   Operation Gratitude
What a sweet way to thank our troops overseas! Operation Gratitude sends more than 100,000 care packages annually to U.S. troops stationed abroad, as well as veterans. Their wonderful mission is simply to put a smile on soldiers’ faces. Operation Gratitude accepts donations of unopened Halloween candy, and asks that it be separated and marked “chocolate” versus “non-chocolate” packages. If you are worried that you won’t have the time to send the candy by the mid-November deadline, fear not; Park View Pediatric Dentistry, along with other area dentists, take part in the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program. Our patients can drop their Halloween candy off directly at our office.

Park View’s Point of View

At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we encourage parents to emphasize that Halloween is one day a year and a controlled portion of treats should be enjoyed, taking extra care to brush and floss afterwards. We always offer our young patients a fun incentive to come in and donate the rest of their treats at our office for a charitable cause – giving them one dollar for every large zip-lock bag.

This will be our second year participating in Operation Gratitude’s Candy Buy Back Program. Last year, one of our patient’s parents came in with a whopping 68 pounds of Halloween candy they collected from their child’s classmates. They took the money that we gave them and donated it to an organization that fed people in need. We took their treats and shipped them off to our troops. It was a win-win situation, especially for all of the young children’s oral health, who generously donated their Halloween candy!

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