Local kids support US troops by giving up their Halloween candy

By Debbie Carson, Online Editor

VERO BEACH – For the second year in a row, Dermody Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics has asked children what they love more – candy or American troops stationed overseas?

This year, more than 265 children responded (plus candy from three schools) – donating more than 1,000 pounds of their hard-earned Halloween candy (or nearly 4 pounds on average) to be shipped around the world. This is the second year now that the kids have proved they love the men and women serving the United States more than they do chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Staff at Dermody’s office spent their Sunday – traditionally a day off – weighing the children’s candy and trying to give the kids a dollar per pound donated.

“We just had them pouring in,” said Practice Administrator Lynn Fowler, who added that many of the children refused the cash.

“It’s just really thrilling,” Fowler said of seeing the kids so proud of their candy stash and donating it to the troops.

The kids also signed two over-sized cards that will be shipped with the candy.

The Air Force Sergeants Auxiliary Association of the Treasure Coast will be sorting the candy collected from numerous dentists’ offices. Once sorted, the candy will be repackaged in refrigerated boxes to keep the candy from melting.

Fowler said that though the candy would be going to the troops, the military men and women will most likely end up sharing it with the locals instead of eating it all themselves.

Fowler also noted that there would be no toothbrushes shipped to the soldiers, either.

“We trust they will brush their teeth,” she said.

In exchange for the candy, the kids received a goodie bag stuffed with a special toothbrush that lights up during the time they need to brush and several gift certificates to various restaurants and businesses, such as Chik-Fil-A, SnoBalls, TGIFridays, Bob Evans, Skate Factory and Crazy Frogs.

UPS donated the boxes the Dermody practice used to haul the candy.

Drs. Frank, Joe and Chris Dermody plan to participate in the Halloween candy buy-back program again next year as an important community outreach project, Fowler said. They also feel it to be an important national outreach, too.

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