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Kids make sweet gesture

Posted: November 2, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 2, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Volunteers, from left, Cambria Lawrence, 9, Janae Ree, Josse Kreitzman, 10, and Cristina Valenzuela contribute to more than 1,000 pounds of collected candy at Doctors Allen and Kelly Smudde dentist offices in Valencia on Friday.

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Niki Hyer struggled somewhat Friday to push her cart up to the elevator at a dental office in Valencia.

Not surprising, since it was loaded up with more than 100 pounds of candy.

Hyer, and many others, stopped by the Valencia offices of dentists Allen and Kelly Smudde on Friday to cash in candy and extend a sweet gesture to American troops as part of a Halloween Candy Buy Back event, where people can trade in candy at the rate of $1 per pound.

The event is meant to both help prevent the cavities that can come after excess sampling of Halloween sweets and collect donations for Operation Gratitude, which will in turn use the collected candy to stock care packages that are sent to servicemen and women.

“So when our troops are overseas serving our country, they’ll be getting candy from our local children,” Kelly Smudde said.

Children who divested themselves of candy Friday also got a chance to meet some of those who are in the military, as well as pen handwritten letters that will be added to candy and dental supplies to make care packages that will be sent out to those serving overseas.

“They have a lot of fun posing for pictures and meeting actual men and women who are serving in the military,” Kelly Smudde said.

But it’s not just the kids who have fun.

“The generosity of the kids is impressive,” said Sgt. Matthew Simmons, who attended the event Friday. “It’s way more than I was expecting.”

“It’s just a great event,” agreed Staff Sgt. John Sanchez.

The Smuddes have also recently added a twist to the event, offering $1 per pound of donated candy to both the child donating and the school he or she attends.

In doing so, they hope to inspire more participation in the buyback and be able to help out schools as well.

Hyer’s haul came from donations at the school she teaches at, Vintage Magnet Elementary School in the San Fernando Valley, and Meadows Elementary School, which her daughters attend.

“It helps the kids learn how to share, and it’s also a way to support the troops,” Hyer said. “Plus, this way it’s not just laying around or thrown away.”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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