Dentist buys back Halloween candy to help troops


Candy buy backs are becoming popular as a way to keep children from eating  large amounts of candy they may collect while trick-or-treating. An Orem dentist is fighting cavities and supporting the troops by sponsoring a Halloween candy buy back event.

Damon Swenson of CrossPointe Dental is combining his efforts with Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization that sends care packages to the U.S. military.

Swenson said his project is different because it doesn’t  just get rid of the candy.

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Boxes of candy are loaded up for a trip to hungry soldiers.

“It gets the excess candy out of the kids’ hands and does something good with it,” Swenson said. “We buy back the candy and send it on to Operation Gratitude, and then they put in in care packages.”

In addition to the candy, Operation Gratitude is asking for other items including small stuffed animals, hand-knit scarves and hats, socks, small packages of beef jerky, protein bars, lip balm, toothbrushes and DVDs. All donations will be sent to the deployed military troops.

CrossPointe Dental will collect these items through the Halloween Candy Buy Back event Tuesday. During the event, people can exchange their excess Halloween candy for raffle tickets. Local businesses have donated prizes including an iPod, Nintendo Wii, Razor scooter, games and gift certificates.

Children and their parents will be able to interact with military personnel, make thank you cards and meet the Build-A-Bear Workshop mascot.

Pat Swenson, Damon’s brother and CrossPointe Dental’s public relations professional, said the military personnel enhance the event.

“They bring vehicles to make it more real and help the kids understand the cause,” Pat Swenson said. “The kids can talk to an army guy, climb up on an army vehicle and draw a picture.”

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Soldiers show their thanks for their special delivery from the United States.

Mandy Westwood, financial coordinator for CrossPointe Dental, said the cards are her favorite part because the children write tender messages.

“It’s so fun to see the kids get excited to bring in their leftover candy that they don’t want anymore because it goes to such a good cause,” Westwood said.

At each of the past two events, CrossPointe Dental collected more than 500 pounds of candy and 200 thank you cards. The office is looking to outdo previous events.

“We’re hoping it’ll be bigger and better this year,” Westwood said.

The  event will be 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at CrossPointe Dental, 1643 N. State Street, Orem. For more information call 801-224-7337 or visit

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