Neal Smiles Orthodontics team members pack up candy donations for the Candy Buy-back program. Courtesy of Neal Smiles Orthodontics.

Orthodontist helps community fight cavities and hunger through candy buy-back program

A local orthodontist office is giving back to the community during its sixth annual candy buy-back program for local schools and community members to donate their Halloween candy.

Neal Smiles Orthodontics has partnered with Northwest Harvest, a statewide hunger relief agency, to buy candy back from the community and seven local elementary schools. The office will be collecting candy from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 3 and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 6.

“Our team at Neal Smiles really values building community and giving back to the community, which has given us so much,” head orthodontist Michelle Neal said.

Previously, Neal Smiles had partnered with an organization that sent the candy to U.S. troops, but the organization discontinued the program.

“We initially started the candy buy-back program to reward those patients that would give back some of their candy to help support our troops,” Neal said. “This year, Northwest Harvest will be receiving the candy and we will be able give treats to people who otherwise struggle with the little extras.”

Northwest Harvest maintains a network of 375 food banks, meal programs and high-needs schools throughout Washington.

Neal Smiles’ candy buy-back program collected more than 2,000 pounds of candy each year in 2015 and 2016.

Veronica Dawson, treatment coordinator at Neal smile, said this year, she expects to match those numbers for Northwest Harvest.

Neal Smiles will buy back each pound of candy for $1 and provide a scale for any community member to drop off donations. In addition, Neal will match the participating schools’ earnings and donate that amount to each school’s PTSA.

The class that collects the most candy between the seven schools will also earn a pizza party for their class. Neal Smiles staff will visit the class and provide the pizza, drinks and cookies.

“Partnering with the local schools has been a fantastic partnership,” Neal said. “The parents are happy to not have all of the extra candy in the house, the kids are happy because they get to compete with other classes for a pizza party and we are able to give thousands of dollars back to the schools and the kids and contribute to their oral health.”

According to Dawson, the kids get excited about donating the candy, even though they give away their own Halloween candy.

“I think, for the most part, what kids do is they sort the candy they don’t want,” Dawson said with a laugh. “And you know, if the kids are in braces they’re restricted on the types of candy they can have. So they can have all the chocolate they want but nothing hard or sticky.”

This buy-back program started out as a way to benefit patients’ health, Neal said, and gave them an easy way to donate to charity.

“It has since grown into a much bigger activity with tremendous community involvement,” she said.

Neal Smiles Orthodontics will be collecting candy at 9750 N.E. 120th Pl. Suites 5/6 in Kirkland.

Kokanee, Alexander Graham Bell, Carl Sandburg, Ben Franklin, Arrowhead and Juanita elementary schools and Finn Hill Middle School will be participating in the program.

“We encourage (kids) to dress up if they do come in outside of the school and wear a costume when they come to bring their candy in,” Dawson said.

More in Life

Reporter file photo
Kirkland’s 4th of July celebration needs local help

The celebration is seeking volunteers to help with the parades and fireworks show.

From left to right, back row: Nicolas Woolwine, Isaac John Perrin, Lucas Wall, Bradley Ross Cagle, Daniel Liu, Tyler Paul Zangaglia; front row: Scott Cavanagh, Michelle Um, Divya Parimi, Anna Wang, Jessica Wells, Jamie Ellen Hudson, Khushi Manish Chaudhari, Shawdi Mehrvarzan. Photo by Brandi Comstock. Photo courtesy of the Lake Washington Schools Foundation
$37,500 in scholarships awarded to local students

Outstanding character and achievement earn post-secondary funding for local students.

Innovation Triangle represents region at investment summit

Innovation Triangle works to create business opportunities in Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond.

Photos courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Kirkland
Kiwanis thanks community for support after pancake breakfast

The Kiwanis Club of Kirkland held their annual pancake breakfast last month.

Reporter File Photo
Washington Health Alliance recognizes EvergreenHealth

EvergreenHealth recently received recognition for remarkable quality, patient experience and parice.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology - Reporter file photo
LWTech announces commencement speaker

Michael Schutzler is the CEO of Washington Technology Industry Association and will give an address.

Cancer survivors celebrate life

About 200 community members, including cancer survivors and their loved ones, attended the event at EvergreenHealth.

Sketches courtesy of the Kirkland Police Department
KPD seeks public’s assistance in identifying exposing suspect

Kirkland police are currently searching for the suspect who has been masturbating in front of women.

Alliance of Eastside Agencies announces 2018 awards

Numerous Eastside Alliance members received awards for Outstanding Contribution in Human Services.

Most Read