In 2006, Dr. Chris Kammer was looking for a new way to encourage his dental patients to not eat all the Halloween candy they collected.
He thought it would be a unique to offer to buy children’s candy and then send whatever he collected to troops serving overseas.
Over the years the program grew, and now thousands of dentists, including some in Northwest Indiana, participate in the Halloween candy buyback, and the group has partnered with Operation Gratitude, which ships the candy overseas.
Last year, the Halloween Candy Buyback program shipped 127 tons of candy overseas. This December, Operation Gratitude will send its one millionth care package overseas. The goal is to also send 100,000 toothbrushes overseas, as well, said Kammer, whose practice is based in Middleton, Wis.
This year, Dr. Lynn M. Karr’s dental practice, Pediatric Dental Care, Inc., in Dyer, will be participating in the Halloween Candy Buyback program.
Last year, the office collected 163 pounds of candy, purchasing it back from kids at $1 a pound, said Gaby Allred, patient coordinator at Pediatric Dental Care.
This year, they will be collecting candy through Nov. 20, she said.
She said it was a cause Karr believes in, and it means more to her that only dental health.
“It’s important not only to take care of your teeth, but to give back to others, as well,” Allred said. “We can’t forget about our troops overseas who are doing what they need to do to protect us.
Kammer said she wants the kids who sell back their candy to learn that it’s okay to not eat so much candy, and to experience the joy that comes with sharing it with others.
“Help us get it to someone who needs it, and experience the feeling of helping someone else,” he said. “Also, learn about healthy, 100 percent sweetened with xylitol candy alternatives.”