Like other big days, Halloween is a holiday of traditions. There's the tradition of collecting heavy bags of candy, the tradition of eating it until you're sick, and the tradition of wondering what the heck you're supposed to do with it all a few days later.
Pediatric dentists are now trying to encourage a new tradition: candy buyback programs, with donations going to deployed troops and first responders. These dentists and orthodontists see two good motivations for the programs: They reduce kids’ sugar intake, and the candy care packages serve to remind our military men and women that someone back home is thinking of them.
Operation Gratitude of Chatsworth, Calif., has organized Halloween candy donations since 2005. In 2015, the group collected 290 tons of goodies from dental offices, schools, local businesses and community groups around the country, according to spokeswoman Jessica Bernstein. Several dentists in Westchester participate in Operation Gratitude, and we've rounded up a few here. (Some also encourage kids to jot down a note to the troops.) All are open to the general public and do not require participants to be patients.
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Westchester Family Orthodontics - Harrison
450 Mamaroneck Ave., Suite 406
This is the offices second year participating in Operation Gratitude. Last year the office bought back more than 50 pounds of candy, offering kids a dollar a pound. Candy will be accepted November 3, 2016, from 2pm - 6pm
Saw Mill Dental - Yonkers
970 North Broadway, Suite 306
This is the offices fourth year participating in Operation Gratitude. Last year the office took in 161 pounds of candy, which children getting goody bags for their good deeds. Candy is being accepted through November 9, 2016. Office hours are Tuesday through Thursday 9am - 6pm, Friday 9am - 4pm, and Saturday 9am - 3pm.
Family Dental Group Jefferson Valley - Yorktown Heights
2985 Navajo Rd.
Last year the office accepted 70 pounds of candy. Donations will be accepted this year through November 9, 2016. Hours are Monday 9am - 5pm, Tuesday through Thursday 9am - 6pm, Friday 9am - 4pm and Saturday 9am - 2pm.
Main St. Pediatric Dentistry - Tuckahoe
115 Main St.
More than 1,300 pounds of candy (you read that correctly!) made its way last year from this office to service men and women. Donations were taken both at the office and at a few local schools, with children receiving a dollar per pound. This year, candy will be accepted November 1-11, 2016. Hours are Mondays 9am - 5pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays 1pm - 7pm, and Wednesdays 2pm - 7pm. The office will be closed on Friday, November 4, and open Friday, November 11, from 9am - 5pm.
Top image courtesy of Operation Gratitude.