Dentist offices offering children cash for Halloween candy
Two dentist offices in the Yuma area are working to bring trick or treat to members of the United States military stationed overseas.
Gila Ridge Dental and Kool Smiles will be collecting unopened packages of candy from children in the community during the days following Halloween at their respective offices. Children who wish to give candy to be sent to troops overseas do not have to be patients at either dentist office.
The collected candy will be mailed to troops stationed overseas in care packages to remind them of home.
“We are hoping to get it shipped out as soon as possible,” said Aja Vaughan, Gila Ridge Dental patient accounts coordinator. “We are going to try for sometime next week.”
The packages are assembled and shipped as part of Operation Gratitude, which annually sends about 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation to U.S. service members deployed in hostile regions. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 815,000 packages to American military members.
“I think it is really important because they are overseas and it will be a really nice reminder of home for them,” Vaughan said about sending the candy to the troops. “We want them to remember home and let them know we are thinking of them and we support them. Any little thing to bring some happiness to their day.”
Gila Ridge Dental, 7949 E. 24th St., will accept any unopened packages of candy from 8 to 5 p.m. on Thursday and from 7 to 2 p.m. Friday.
“As long as it is unopened we will take any excess candy from kids in the area,” Vaughan said.
Each person donating candy will receive $1 per pound, with a limit of $5 per person. In addition, each child who donates candy will be entered into a contest to win an iPod. For more information, call 317-1900.
Kool Smiles of Yuma, 2383 W. 24th St., will accept any unopened packages of candy from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
For every 25 pieces of candy a child donates, Kool Smiles will them give one toy. There is a limit of three toys per child. Toys will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 257-1741.