So here’s our last-minute reminder of a unique opportunity that we first reported in the Oct. 16 edition, and later recommended in an editorial last week.
It is “Operation Gratitude: Candy BuyBack,” a second-year program offered by the staff at Aspire Orthodontics in which children — or even adults — can drop off their leftover Halloween candy. For their trouble, they’ll be reimbursed $1 per pound up to 10 pounds.
Collected candy will then be shipped overseas to U.S. troops stationed in foreign lands or who have been deployed to war zones. It is a simple way of saying “thank you” to American soldiers whose day-to-day sacrifices are keeping this country free and democracy alive in many distant lands.
But here’s the urgency. As we have been reporting, the candy collection is taking place TODAY from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Aspire Orthodontics office on Chambliss Avenue in Suite A. So that doesn’t leave youngsters and parents much time to sort through the stashes from Wednesday night’s trick-or-treating, the Downtown Block Party or even from all those unopened bags of candy at home that went unclaimed on Halloween night.
In its 2011 launch, “Operation Gratitude” received more than 200 pounds of candy that was brought in by philanthropic children whose taste for giving outweighed their need for receiving.
In most cases, the kids enjoyed some of the sugary delights, but hopefully in moderation while setting aside a little for another day. In others, the amount of candy received far exceeded healthy limits so parents and kids made mutual, and informed, decisions to donate to the commendable Aspire program.
In the grand scheme of life, a few pounds of donated candy might not seem like much to some. But to a U.S. soldier whose loved ones are an ocean away, even the tiniest of gifts are the sweetest. And in this case, the latter is especially true.
Donating candy to “Operation Gratitude” is also a lesson in kindness. The best lessons in life are those learned at an early age. Giving away candy — which itself was a gift of Halloween — teaches the importance of giving and of personal sacrifice.
Factors like obesity, diabetes, dental care and healthier lifestyles — for children and adults alike — must also be considered.
Too much of anything can lead to long-term risk. We’re not just talking candy. Alcohol. Sedentary lifestyles. Stress. Long work days. Too little down time. Not enough quality togetherness with family and friends. Any one shortfall is bad. As a collective group, they can be a nightmare of poor health.
Aspire Orthodontics is making available “Operation Gratitude” for all the right reasons. Yes, it is a matter of healthy teeth. But that’s a lesser concern. The most important reasoning is the lesson taught and the lesson learned.
Marlene Rogers, new-patient coordinator at Aspire, said it best when she told our newspaper, “Our Candy BuyBack program is an opportunity to get children involved in a charitable act and allow them to truly show their support for our troops overseas in harm’s way.”
Kudos to those who created “Operation Gratitude” and a special salute to its lessons in life and its gains in personal health.
But, time is running short. Grab the kids, and the leftover candy, and head over to Aspire for the sweet-treat dropoff from 4:30 to 7 p.m.