Candy collected by Chesheim Dental Associates for shipment to troops in the United States and abroad.

Candy collected by Chesheim Dental Associates for shipment to troops in the United States and abroad.

by Paula M. Riley

Too much Halloween candy in your house? Dr. Angela Stout, “Dr. Angel” of Chesheim Dental Associates in Erdenheim, has a solution that benefits parents, kids and American soldiers.

For the third consecutive year, Stout is hosting “Halloween Candy Buy Back.” From Monday, Nov. 4, through Thursday, Nov. 7, children can bring candy to Chesheim Dental, at 716 Bethlehem Pike, Monday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The candy will be packaged by Chesheim Dental staff and brought to the Philadelphia USO, where it will be shipped it to soldiers stationed domestically and in Afghanistan.

“We consider this a win/win,” said Stout. “It’s a great experience for the kids and a great way to support the troops.”

All children who donate their candy will be entered into a raffle to win an iPod touch, and Chesheim Dental Associate patients will be paid $1 a pound of candy donated, up to 5 pounds. Local schools are participating as well: St. Genevieve’s School Student Council and Stony Creek Elementary School are coordinating the collection of candy.

Stout is donating an iPod touch to both of these schools and each can decide how it will use this to incentivize and reward the children. Last year, St. Gen’s had a contest to guess how many pounds of candy were collected by its students, and the child who was closest won the iPod Touch.

Managing how much Halloween candy kids consume can be tricky for parents.

“We try to preach prevention,” Stout said. “We suggest that kids save candy so they can enjoy a piece a week.” She and her Chesheim Dental dentists tell their patients, “If it’s sticky and sweet, it’s not a good treat” so she encourages children to donate sticky, gummy items and keep the chocolate to enjoy since chocolate generally melts in the mouth and doesn’t interfere with dental work.

Stout heard about the USO Halloween candy collection from her patients, so she reached out to the Philly USO, based at the Philadelphia Airport, three years ago. They were low on contributions and were thrilled to get her call. The candy is used as part of the USO’s Operation Gratitude, a program which annually sends over 100,000 care packages filled with snack, entertainment items and letters of appreciation to US service members deployed in hostile regions, to their children left behind and to veterans, first responders, wounded warriors and their caregivers.

Stout offered to make individual care packages, but the USO requested the bulk donation instead.

“They told me that donations had been sparse,” Stout said. “They were so incredibly grateful – last year we brought over 650 pounds of candy down to the Philly USO.”

With Stony Creek participating this year, Stout expects to donate many more pounds to the USO. For her, it’s a great combination of her passions – it supports avoiding sticky treats, it helps servicemen and women and encourages families by providing an alternative to throwing out excess candy.

On Friday, Nov. 8, the candy will be delivered to the USO, and the drawing for the iPod Touch will be held. For more information, contact Chesheim Dental at 215-233-0206.