View Mobile Site
  • Home
  • Marketplace
  • Community
  • Gas Prices


Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Valencia dentists’ trick: Send treats to troops

Children receive a dollar for every pound of candy in annual tradition

Posted: November 2, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 2, 2012 2:00 a.m.

U.S. Army Recruiter Staff Sgt. John Sanchez, left, plays tick-tac-toe with Paytin Baldridge, 6, at Gateway Dental Suites in Valencia on Thursday.

View More »

Carrying bulging sacks of candy, kids lined up to trade cavities for community service Thursday at the Halloween Candy Buy Back at the Valencia dentistry offices of Drs. Allen and Kelly Smudde.

Kids received $1 for every pound of candy they relinquished. Their sweets will be sent off with a handwritten letter, also from the candy collectors, to U.S. troops overseas.

“I am very thankful that they are in the war to save our country,” Isabella Browne, 9, from Bridgeport Elementary School, said of those who would receive her trick-or-treat bounty.

For four years, the dentists’ office has, so to speak, protected kids from the cavity monster, donating the bought-back candy to Operation Gratitude, a nationwide organization that coordinates care packages for U.S. armed forces.

The local chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America Inc., a nonprofit group that supports local troops, gets first pick of the candy, providing the treats to Santa Clarita Valley troops first.

This year, the dental practice is expanding its generosity to local schools, as well.

The Smuddes will donate up to $1,500 to each Bridgeport and North Park elementary schools based on student participation in the candy sell-back. If the school donations are a success, they hope to include more schools next year, spokeswoman Beverly Koontz said.

Just in case community service wasn’t a tempting enough incentive, all kids who participate were entered into a drawing for three iPods.

“They are paying for it all out of their pockets,” Koontz said of the Smudde practice.

Kelly Smudde sees it as opportunity to support the troops and teach the kids to give back.

“You don’t realize how good kids are these days. They all want to volunteer. You just have to show them a way to do something good,” Smudde said. “It’s fun when the kids can actually come and feel important.”

Kids toddlers to elementary-school age who wrote letters to the troops ran to show Kelly Smudde their works of art.

“You’re going to make our troops so happy,” Smudde said — just before giving an impromptu checkup of the teeth.

Kids from Legacy Christian Academy volunteer their time during the Thursday afternoon candy buy-back, as well as their candy and messages.

“My uncle is in Afghanistan, and it means a lot to me to do this for the people that are fighting for us,” said Gerardo Cruz, the 10-year-old Legacy Christian Academy student known by all his friends as “G.Max.”

Pausing in the brainstorming phase of his letter-writing, Cruz said he planned to write: “Thank you for giving us a safe place to live.”

“I’m just really happy to be here,” Cruz said.


Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...