Ever wonder what nearly 5,000 pounds of candy looks like in the back of a U-Haul truck?
Thanks to Bach Grazina East End Orthodontics in Riverhead, 31 area schools and several local American Legion groups, you no longer have to use your imagination to find out.
The Osborn Avenue orthodontist office held its annual Halloween candy buyback program this month, buying a record amount of candy from local schools that’s sent to troops overseas.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” said East End Orthodontics patient advocate Dina Reilly.
Here’s how it all works: The schools collect unwanted Halloween candy from students, which is then purchased at$1 a pound (up to $250) by East End Orthodontics’ Dr. Victor Grazina, whose staff donates it to local American Legion groups, which then ship it to troops overseas and area veterans hospitals.
“I’m really proud of the children in our community for their generosity and for honoring the veterans,” said Dr. Grazina, who also donates funds to the American Legion posts to offset shipping costs. “It has grown in the seven years we have been doing this. The first year we collected 700 pounds from just 8 schools.”
This year, 31 schools participated with 16 of them donating more than 100 pounds of candy each. No school collected more than Wading River Elementary School, which weighed in at 551 pounds. Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton (538 pounds), Woodhull Elementary School in the William Floyd School District (345 pounds), Miller Avenue Elementary School in Shoreham (299 pounds) and Moriches Elementary School (295 pounds) also cracked the top 5. Oysterponds, Southold and Cutchogue East elementary schools also participated.
“We ask the kids to also make cards for the soldiers,” Ms. Reilly said. “This year we have a record amount of handmade cards from students all over eastern Long Island.”