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A dentist in Ohio pays kids for their Halloween candy and donates it to troops and first responders

Operation Gratitude has dropoff locations nationwide
Posted at 11:27 AM, Oct 31, 2019

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Candy is usually not the biggest hit at the dentist's office, but for Halloween, Rockside Family Dental Care in Ohio makes an exception.

“Obviously we're trying to preach healthy teeth,” dentist Dan Carmichel said. “We decided years ago it would be kind of fun for the kids to be able to give back some candy after they're done gorging themselves from Halloween."

For a few days in November, the practice rewards its patients for handing over some of their Halloween haul.

“If they come in with their costume on, we pay them $2 a pound for their candy, up to five pounds,” Carmichel said. “If not in costume, they come in, it’s $1 a pound.”

The candy is donated to a program at Saint Ignatius High School or shipped to Operation Gratitude. That group collects 400,000 to 500,000 pounds of candy each year, packs it up and sends the care packages to nearly 200,000 U.S. service members who are deployed across the world.

"There is nothing more cherished ... by a young service member, than a handwritten letter from home from a grateful American who appreciates their service,” said Kevin Schmiegel, CEO of Operation Gratitude.

All that candy also goes to local first responders.

"Those police officers, firefighters and EMTs will then hand it out to kids in underprivileged communities who didn't have the opportunity to go out on Halloween,” Schmiegel said.

If you would like to donate to Operation Gratitude, you can log onto their website, type in your address and find the closest drop off location to you.

This story was originally published on WEWS.