Candy buy-back set for Thursday

Volunteers and staff work to sort candy at Santa Clarita Advanced Dentistry in Valencia during the office's annual candy buy back program. The office pays for Halloween candy by the pound, and sends the sweets to the troops. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Two schools in the Santa Clarita Valley will have a chance to earn a $500 donation by participating in the 10th annual Operation Gratitude: Halloween Candy Buy Back event, which will occur from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday.

Santa Clarita Advanced Dentistry and owners Allen and Kelly Smudde host the candy buy-back event every year after Halloween in an attempt to give back to the local community and those who have served in the armed forces.

During the event, students are invited to meet with soldiers in attendance or write letters of gratitude to those who are stationed overseas, event organizers said.

Attendees can also bring their wrapped Halloween candy, “and we will buy it for $1 per pound,” according to the office’s Facebook post. All participants will receive dental goodies, participate in fun Halloween-themed minigames and have chances to win prizes, but the school with the most participants and the school that brings the most candy will each win a $500 donation.

Program volunteers will ask each of the participants what school they represent so they can keep a tally, organizers said, adding the two winning schools will be announced shortly after the results are calculated.

“Remember, you don’t have to be a patient at our office to participate in this free community event,” and all of the candy and letters that are received will be sent to troops, the post said.

For more information, call the dental office at 661-259-4474 or visit

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