The candy problem

Lots of local kids got a little bit richer last week and protected their teeth in the process.

Asheville Orthodontist James MacAlpine bought back 78 pounds of goodies from trick-or-treaters, paying $1 per pound of loot, between November 1 and 8.

Sharon Burton, who organizes community outreach at MacAlpine’s practice, says she was overwhelmed by the response to the buyback. “The day after Halloween, we [bought] 42 pounds of candy.”

MacAlpine, whose office is in West Asheville, adds: “It’s such a win-win. Kids come in with their braces knocked out and moved around by eating candy and Halloween season ups the ante.”

So he offered to buy his clients’ candy, although many of the kids who came in weren’t clients but had heard about the buyback from fliers and community publicity. And lots of them donated their candy. “I probably only spent about $40,” MacAlpine says.

Now, however, he’s going to spend another $40 or more bucks as he promised to match the candy pound for pound.

So what’s an orthodontist going to do with 156 pounds of candy?

He’s going to give it to Hominy Valley Elementary School. Not in hopes of procuring more clients, but so the students can box it up and send it to U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.

“The troops are far away from home and they have memories of dressing up and trick-or-treating,” MacAlpine says. “This way, we can send a little of one of our traditional holidays over to them. It just all came together.”

This is the first time MacAlpine has bought back candy from trick-or-treaters, although he plans to do it again next year. “Hopefully, next year we won’t have to send it over to Iraq,” he says.

Let’s just hope the troops have access to a good dentist over there.

(For other suggestions on how to deal with the leftover candy problem, read the XpressEdgy Mama column on November 12).

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