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Got leftover candy? Sell it for $1 a pound
Candy collected will be sent to American troops overseas
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Manteca dentist Pam Andrews is ready to buy unopened Halloween trick or treat candy for $1 a pound to send to troops serving America. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Want to turn your unopened trick-or-treat candy into cash and send some sweets to our troops overseas at the same time?

On Tuesday - the day after Halloween - Manteca dentist Dr. Pamela Andrews is one of hundreds of dentists across the United States participating in the Halloween Candy Buy Back Event

It is the fifth year in a row dentists have teamed up with Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization dedicated to sending care packages to troops overseas.

You can trade candy for cash on Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Andrews’ practice at 132 N. Grant Ave. (between Center and Yosemite Avenues, across from the MRPS Hall). The candy will be weighed and the dollar bills handed back to the children at the rate of $1 per pound. In addition to the cash, a raffle will be conducted with prizes for both children and adults. For the children, the prizes available include movie tickets, electric toothbrushes, toys and games. For the adults, a free professional tooth whitening plus gift certificates for a local massage therapist will be offered for the raffle. The only entry is your leftover candy.

Once dentists have collected the candy, they ship it to Operation Gratitude to fill up thousands of care packages for the troops. For troop safety, Operation Gratitude works from the Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California, to assemble the packages and send them to service members overseas.

Troops share the candy with members of their unit to brighten their day, but it can also be an effective combat tool to win the hearts and minds of the local population, which in turn, can lead to saving many lives. When the troops share the candy with the children and families in and around the villages in which they are patrolling, the locals often provide intelligence about insurgents, Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) and other dangers.

 “What kid (or their teeth) needs a sack full of cavity-causing candy?” said Andrews who sees many children in her practice and knows what unhealthy snacking can do to their teeth.

When she heard of the Buy Back program, she and her whole staff were excited to participate and – as mothers and dental professionals – saw it as a win-win opportunity.”

“Last year, surprisingly, our biggest contributions were from adult patients and people from the community who just came by with bags of candy that they did not end up handing out to trick-or-treaters,” Andrews said. “They were more than happy to share it with the troops instead.”

This is the second year for Andrews and her staff to participate. Last year, they collected over 250 pounds of candy.

Andrews noted that “in addition to the candy we send to the troops this year, we will also be donating and sending along toothbrushes and toothpaste – an addition that makes a whole lot of sense as dental professionals.”

For more information on Operation Gratitude and other donations needed or to enroll a service member to receive care packages, family members and supporters can visit

To contact Pamela Andrews, DDS, call 239-5996, drop by 132 N. Grant Avenue, Manteca or visit