Dentist trades cash for candy

Carmel Valley dentist Dr. Curtis Chan dared to ask the question: Are children willing to part with their Halloween candy haul for a good cause? Turns out the answer was an overwhelming "yes!"

Chan opted to participate in the national Great Halloween Candy Buy Back this year, getting children to bring in their candy in exchange for money ($1 per pound up to $5). All that candy would then go to troops serving the country overseas through Operation Gratitude.

Chan's goal was 250 pounds. In the end, he'd collected a whopping 1,500 pounds, not including a very generous last-minute donation from Ralph's.

Chan was shocked by the response; local schools and sports leagues spread the word like "wildfire." On Monday and Tuesday after Halloween, the line of children was out the door of the Carmel Country Plaza dental office and even down the stairs.

Buckets in Chan's office overflowed with Skittles and Tootsie Pops and miniature chocolate bars.

Chan handed out $650 to donating children, although many families opted to make just a straight donation of candy.

In addition to donating their candy for the troops, children could also write a letter to them. The candy and letters will be part of Operation Gratitude care packages for the troops.

"They're just so thankful to get a touch of home," Chan said of the troops' treats. "They're thankful that someone's thinking about them."

Chan said that toothpaste and dental floss would be included in the care packages.

   
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