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Cash for Halloween candy

Family Medical Clinic (FMC) is launching its inaugural candy buyback program benefiting Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization that delivers care packages to first responders and deployed troops. Last year, Operation Gratitude received and distributed over 533,000 pounds of donated Halloween candy.

FMC is hosting a collection drive at both the Harrogate and Tazewell clinics to purchase candy from local kids for $1 per pound (5 lb. limit per child). Each child that donates a pound or more of candy will be entered into a raffle to win a $100 Visa gift card. Two raffle prizes will be given, one at each clinic location. If a child brings in a letter or drawing for the troops, he or she will receive an additional raffle ticket. The FMC Candy Buyback program starts on Nov. 1 and runs through Nov. 4 during normal business hours at each location.

Liza Larew, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C) at FMC says, “Halloween is such a fun time for families, especially children. And while the occasional sweet indulgence is not a bad thing, long term elevated sugar intake can be dangerous for children and adults. So, we (FMC) want to give children a reason to willingly give up their candy and be rewarded by both the charitable contribution to our troops but also by a monetary reward for smart decisions.”

The reality of overexposure to sugar is continuing to be a concern for the overall health of our children. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends children between 4 and 8 years of age consume no more than 3 teaspoons (12 grams) of added sugar per day and that tweens or teens consume no more than 5 to 8 teaspoons (20-32 grams) of added sugar per day. To put this into prospective, eating just one fun sized packet of Skittles (contains 14.5g of sugar) equates to more than the daily allotment of sugar for a child and over half the daily amount for a teen.

Operation Gratitude annually sends 200,000+ care packages filled with food, entertainment, hygiene, and handmade items, plus personal letters of appreciation to veterans, first responders, new recruits, wounded heroes, their caregivers and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. You can find out more about the organization and how to help by visiting www.operationgratitude.com