For a program called "Operation Gratitude" will assemble care packages to send to the troops
On Nov. 1, the dentists will host the first "Great Candy Buy Back" at their 552 S. Trimble Road offices.
"A friend of mine started the program a couple years ago in Wisconsin," said Callen, who has been in business since 1980. "What we are doing is part of the national program."
Callen said from 9 a.m. until noon Nov. 1, children are eligible to stop in and donate candy in exchange for money. He said the event is geared toward children 12 and younger.
"We’ll have a weighing station set up, and children will get paid a dollar per every pound of candy they bring," Callen said. "The maximum is five pounds. They’ll also receive free toothbrushes and a packet of coupons for places like Coldstone (Creamery) and Wal-Mart. We’re also going to have a drawing for an iPod."
Callen added Dr. Dale Featheringham is donating toys. A magician also will make an appearance.
"Our final limit will be $2,500 — because that’s all I can afford," Callen said with a laugh. "After we’re done, we’re going to ship the candy to California, hopefully before Christmas, where the volunteers for a program called Operation Gratitude will assemble care packages to send to the troops."
Callen said he hopes to get assistance from local guardsman since the candy will be shipped to an Air National Guard base in California.
"I’ve always done something at Halloween," Callen said. "Usually we have a float in the Bellville parade where we give away about 600 packs of sugarless gum and toothbrushes. We get swarmed every year because everyone else is giving out candy."
In recent years, Callen said there’s been a big upsurge in candy usage — particularly with the sour candies, which are high in sugar and acid, making them even more likely to cause tooth decay.