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Dentist office offers prizes in exchange for leftover Halloween candy

Dentist office offers prizes in exchange for leftover Halloween candy
Brenna Murphy, 9, dumps out her Halloween candy as her mother Jill Murphy and dentist Michael Sobol look at Premier Dental Care in Manchester Thursday, Nov. 5. Premier Dental Care held a candy buyback Thursday where children could exchange their candy for a gift certificate or one dollar per pound up to five pounds. The donated candy will be sent to troops. (DAVE MUNCH/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Carroll kids had to exhibit extraordinary self-control this past week, in order to participate in Premier Dental Care's fourth annual Halloween Candy buyback, held Thursday at its office in Manchester.

To participate, last weekend's trick-or-treaters had to avoid depleting their loot in order to donate their uneaten candy to members of the military serving overseas.

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The candy buyback is a national initiative, begun in 2005, in which dental offices — those with a pronounced interest in encouraging children to avoid eating pounds of sugar — accept donated candy in exchange for special treats and prizes. Some offices offer toys, while Premier partnered with local businesses to offer vouchers in exchange for candy or a dollar per pound, up to five pounds.

Brenna Murphy, 9, stopped by the office to donate her candy after trick-or-treating dressed as a present, complete with box, wrapping and bow.

Brenna said she saved some candy for herself, divvying out pieces she had extras of rather than keep an excess of Starbursts for herself. For her generosity, Brenna was able to get a voucher for Hoffman's.

Trading excess candy for free ice cream, Brenna said, was not a bad deal.

Dawn Losego, dental assistant with the office, said that over the past several years, they have made a greater effort to create these business partnerships to add to positive community impact of the Halloween candy buyback.

"When we started, it was just us, but as the years went by we started reaching out to people," Losego said. "Now we get so much help from the community, and it goes back into helping the community."

Children had their choice of coupons for pizza from Brothers Pizza or Pizza Hut, cookies from Snickerdoodles, ice cream from Hoffman's, frozen yogurt from My Sweet Cup, or a game of bowling at Greenmount Bowl. Last year, the office was able to collect 600 pounds of candy, thanks in part to a partnership with Gerstell Academy.

Dentist Michael Sobol said he wanted to participate in the buyback as soon as he heard about the mission.

The candy is donated overseas through Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to U.S. service members deployed overseas year round.

"It's a good opportunity to give back to the armed forces, which have done so much for us," Sobol said. "It's a small token of our appreciation."

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