Jabber jaw the
The Monthly Newsletter From N gy Family Dental Group
Our Annual Halloween Candy Buyback October 2019
The Meaning and Purpose in a Bag of Candy
afternoon, as I was sitting in my office reviewing patient charts, I looked up to see a woman standing outside my office. She knocked softly on the door, and I opened it, ready to explain that she was at the back entrance and how to go around to the front. “You’re Dr. Nagy?” she said. She had a large plastic bag in her hand. “Yes,” I said. She replied, “My husband was a Marine, and he passed away a couple months ago. He would be really proud of what you’re doing to support the troops. I wanted to bring this candy and support what you’re doing.” That moment made me think differently about the event. Initially, I thought this would just be a fun way to prevent cavities and connect with our patients. Hearing the woman’s story that day opened my eyes: The candy buyback was bigger than just our office; this meant something to people. It was a conduit for the community to their loved ones overseas. So many people had a spouse, relative, friend, sibling, or someone they loved serving in the military. The buyback was a way for them to feel connected, even if they were thousands of miles away. After that first year, we started doing a craft table for kids and a card-making station, where anyone could write a short note to go along with the care packages. At the end of the event, my staff and I read some of the cards the kids wrote. They were so sincere and heartfelt, and they made us just about tear up. “Please come home safely. We appreciate you,” one read. Over the years, the buyback has evolved, and we’ve connected with more and more people. A few years ago, the buyback fell on a Saturday. We cleared our parking lot, local bands came to play, and there were carnival games for the kids and representatives from the military, as well as Vietnam veterans. That year, we collected 900 pounds of candy. By that time, we’d connected with the USO, and a very sweet couple came out at the end of each event to collect the candy. They took it back to the USO, where the candy would be dispersed into holiday care packages and distributed to airports all over the world, where troops and their families could receive them. That year, the couple drove up in their little Honda, saw our massive piles of candy (enough to fill two treatment rooms), and said, “We’re going to need a bigger car.” They came back a while later with a van. This year, we’ll be hosting our buyback on Nov. 4. We’re all looking forward to seeing how much candy we collect. It’s amazing to see how a little idea can take flight and become bigger than us, bigger than just a bag of candy. This is the kind of light we want to shine in the community.
Several years ago, in early October, my team and I were at a continuing education seminar when an idea took root. During our lunch break, we sat together and chatted about work and life. Someone mentioned Halloween, and someone else lamented how much candy their kids brought home from trick-or-treating. Each holiday meant huge bags of candy lying around the house, providing tooth-aching temptation for the whole family. I said something like, “We should just buy kid’s candy from them.” This October marks our 12th year hosting our Halloween Candy Buyback. What started as a simple way to prevent cavities has blossomed into a meaningful event for our entire office and for our community. When we first started, the Iraq War was going on, and after our initial meeting, we realized we might be able to provide the troops overseas with something to enjoy for the holidays and let them know people were thinking about them. We’d buy candy back from our patients, put together care packages, and send them to the troops. Our first year, we collected somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 pounds of candy. Knowing we would be shipping it overseas, some of our patients kindly donated money to help cover the cost of shipping. It was pretty cool to see people get excited about the cause.
As the buyback continued, information about it reached more people. One October
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