Protect Your Teeth -- And The Troops

Save your teeth and give a solider a treat at the same time during Halloween Buy Back, a project of Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to U.S. soldiers in the Middle East and other hot spots.

Clear Lake area dentist Cindy Flanagan will be paying $1 per pound of candy - and handing out free toothbrushes – during the Buy Back at her office on Monday afternoon. The candy will be collected and shipped to California, Operation Gratitude’s headquarters, then mailed to overseas.

“We got feed back from the troops saying that they especially wanted candy,” Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude, tells Hair Balls. “Not only because they enjoyed it but because they hand it out to the children where they’re serving.”

Nice tactic, a little winning over hearts and minds with gooey chocolate and gum drops.

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“Actually, we’ve gotten several letters from the troops saying that after they give the kids the candy, the kids turn around and tell them where the bad guys are or where a bomb is hidden. So, some of the letters say, ‘Look, you’re not just putting smiles on our faces, you’re saving our lives.’ It’s pretty intense.”

Well, damn.

Operation Gratitude will be shipping more than four tons of candy out to troops (along with other items) before the end of the year. If you want to help, contact Dr. Cynthia Flanagan, 2625 Bay Area Boulevard, 281-488-6900. You can learn more about Operation Gratitude here.

-- Olivia Flores Alvarez

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