Aspiring for a cause? Here’s a sweet deal
Nov 01, 2013 | 572 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Halloween ended late Thursday night, but chances are sweet that bags and bags of leftover candy lined the kitchen table, or remained safely tucked away in the kids’ rooms, this morning in a plethora of Cleveland neighborhoods.

So here’s a last-minute reminder. To avoid too many sugar highs around the house — whether in kids or in parents — there’s a way to help others.

It is “Operation Gratitude: Candy Buy Back,” a third-year program offered by the staff at Aspire Orthodontics in which children — or adults — can drop off their leftover Halloween candy. For their trouble, they’ll be reimbursed $1 per pound up to 10 pounds.

Additional candy can be donated without monetary compensation.

Collected candy will 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. You need to act today.

We reported this story on the front page of Wednesday’s edition, right below the preview for the Downtown Halloween Block Party. As most already know, this annual celebration is a treasure trove of food ... and especially sweet treats.

For households where the Halloween bags came home just too full, kids and parents have until 6 p.m. today to drop off excess amounts, or leftovers, to Aspire. The Candy Buy Back has only a six-hour window that started at noon. So don’t take your sweet time getting over there.

The Aspire Orthodontics office is located on Chambliss Avenue in Suite A.

In its 2011 debut, “Operation Gratitude: Candy Buy Back” received more than 200 pounds of candy delivered by philanthropic children whose taste for giving outweighed their need for receving.

In most cases, the kids enjoyed a portion 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 cause.

In the grand scheme of life, a few pounds of donated candy might not seem like much. 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.

It should also be remembered some soldiers rarely receive mail from home or other loved ones, nor do they receive “care” packages filled with homebaked goodies that remind them of the comforts of their hometown.

Donating candy to “Operation Gratitude” is also a lesson in kindness. The best lessons in life are those learned at an early age. Such actions teach 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 and not enough quality togetherness with family and friends ... all are one-way signs to a treacherous road ahead. Any one excess 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.

Aspire hopes to more-than-double last year’s candy collections. This year’s goal is 500 pounds.

That’s a lot of sweets.

But it’s a cause coming straight from the heart. And that’s the sweetest part of it all.