Martine Dentistry at Stonegate recently conducted its 12th annual candy buyback, but the process was slightly different.
Dr. Gary Martine, a dentist practitioner, started the buyback after reading a message from the American Dental Association. Now his business regularly collects several pounds of candy each year, starting the Monday after Halloween, from residents to send to U.S. military service members overseas.
But this year, the candy was sent to a local National Guard unit, which he said was appreciated by the military personnel and grateful parents.
“Here (was) an avenue to help parents out, help servicemen out, and it’s a win-win for everyone,” Martine said. “I say it’s like a drug I’m getting off the street. Initially, when kids would come in, they would be sad they had to give up their candy. They were not excited about that until I gave them a dollar for every pound they had. Then their eyes lit up, and they did not mind parting with the candy.”
Martine said parents regularly thank him for keeping their children from eating excessive amounts of candy each Halloween. Candy donations are typically sorted and shipped to a distribution site in California before being sent overseas. Martine calls the candy buyback a “goodwill act.”
The candy is then used by military personnel overseas to introduce themselves to local populations, especially children, who may be wary of their presence. But this year, Martine Dentistry at Stonegate was asked to send the candy to local military units to save on shipping costs, Martine said. This year’s collection was sent to a National Guard unit in Lebanon and Lawrence Township, which each received nearly 100 pounds of candy, Martine said.
“The servicemen have told me to tell (Zionsville children who participate in the candy buyback) thanks because it helps more than the kids even realize,” Martine said.