After the Trick-or-Treating is over, there is a reward that goes beyond tasting all the sweet treats.

The chocolate and candy collected Halloween night can be excessive, and several area dental offices are giving area youth a way to share their treats with troops overseas.

For the staff at Jon Douglas Lesan Family Dentistry in Jacksonville, this will mark the second year they have hosted a Halloween candy buy back program through Operation Gratitude.

On Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 from 3 to 6 p.m., children can bring unopened candy to the office at 123 Cobia Ct. (near the intersection of Western Boulevard and Henderson Drive) and receive $1 for each pound of candy (up to 5 pounds) and a ticket to win prizes.

While dropping off candy, the youth are also invited to write notes for the troops to be included in the packages of candy that they will receive.

Dr. Doug Lesan served in the Navy, and the dental practice has found Operation Gratitude’s program as an opportunity to support the troops while also promoting good dental health, said Angie Lesan, Dr. Lesan’s wife.

“Last year we collected 127 pounds of candy and this year we’re shooting for 150 pounds,” Lesan said.
While pouring rain hampered last year’s plans Lesan said they are hoping good weather this year will bring even greater response.

“It was a wonderful experience last year and we’re hoping for better weather so even more kids come out this year,” she said.

In addition to the nearly 130 pounds of candy collected last year, the youth colored 40 cards that were included in the care packages. Overall, five packages about 20 to 30 pounds each were send to Operation Gratitude, which sends the packages overseas.

Several other dental offices around the area are also holding candy buy-back events.

Smith Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Sneads Ferry is also participating in Operation Gratitude for a second year.

According to the office staff, about 60 pounds of candy was collected last year and they hope to surpass that amount this year.

Their event will be held Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Smith Family and Cosmetic Dentistry office at 1112 N.C. 210 in Sneads Ferry. Area children will receive $1 per pound of candy they bring by and will also be entered into raffles for each the parent and child.

NorthShore Family Dentistry in Sneads Ferry is also partnering with Operation Gratitude to collect candy to send to deployed troops. Stop by their office at 1319 N.C. 210 and receive $1 per pound of candy donated and an additional $1 for a written letter to send to a service member in the candy packages.

Surf City Dental is hosting its fifth annual candy buy-back event but does Operation Cash-for-Candy on its own rather than through another organization.

On Nov. 1 from 3to 6 p.m., children can bring in their unwrapped candy and receive $2 per pound, up to five pounds. Those participating will also be registered to win a $50 gift cards and receive a goodie bag for their donation.

All candy will go to local troops overseas. Donations will be accepted throughout the week at the office a 301 Aloha Way in Surf City, but the paid candy buy-back will only be on Nov. 1.