For Halloween 2016, as he does every year, Northridge cosmetic and family dentist, Dr. David Shannon is preparing for his annual Halloween Candy Buy-Back campaign. Immediately after Halloween, Dr. Shannon collects candy from the neighborhood children, schools, and civic and religious organizations in the Northridge and Chatsworth areas of the San Fernando Valley in California.
Children and organizations earn one dollar for every pound of candy they bring to his office in the week following Halloween. This accomplishes several goals; it lets children earn a little money for their Halloween candy, it cuts down on the amount of candy they actually consume, and it serves as a fund raising vehicle for the schools that participate.
The donated candy is then taken to the USO at Los Angeles International Airport and distributed to our troops as they move through LAX en route to various parts of the world, and is also shared with Operation Gratitude to be sent to the troops in Afghanistan.
Americans spend an estimated $2.5 billion dollars on a whopping 600 million pounds of Halloween Candy each year. In 2015 alone, 294 tons of that candy was sent to Operation Gratitude for distribution through its Care Package Programs. Dr. Shannon's office is proud to have contributed almost 2000 pounds to that total.
“Operation Gratitude has shipped more than 1.6 Million Care Packages that include items such as DVDs, handmade scarves and hygiene products. Halloween candy is a wonderful addition to these packages,” says Operation Gratitude's founder, Carolyn Blashek. “The candy is a great morale boost for the troops, and a means to create positive interaction with local children. Equally important is that the Halloween Candy Program provides every American child the opportunity to learn about service and generosity.”
As the “candy haul” grows larger every year, Dr. Shannon has begun recruiting sponsors to help him buy more and more candy. Sponsors contribute any amount they choose, from $25 to $50, even up to $1000. Dr. Shannon welcomes all returning sponsors from previous years as well those first-timers who have joined this year's campaign, and he encourages any local business owner, civic organization or private citizen to donate what they can to this worthy effort.
“Anyone who would like to get involved and help out this year can do it in one of several ways,” says Dr. Shannon. “You can join the effort by contributing any amount by cash or check by November 9, 2016. You can also enlist the help of your school, church, synagogue, temple or mosque, which may choose to simply donate the candy or use the drive as a fund raising vehicle to help their organization.”
And, of course, the main way to participate is to bring your extra Halloween candy to Dr. Shannon's Northridge office by November 9th.