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Dr. James “Randy” Ransdell is hosting his third annual Halloween Candy Buy-Back at his dentist office in Elk Creek on Friday, Nov. 4.
“It’s kind of like a carnival with stuff to do, stuff to eat and games to play,” said Ransdell.
The Candy Buy-Back will be a carnival of sorts. There will be a duck pond with prizes, a bouncy house, and all children will receive toothbrushes. Ransdell invites children to wear their Halloween costumes to the party.
The event will take place in the parking lot behind Ransdell’s dentist office in Elk Creek on Taylorsville Road between Elk Creek Grocery and Dollar General.
Ransdell started the event in 2009 after reading about a dentist practice in another state doing something similar. He thought it would be fun for the community and give back to service members at the same time.
“I liked the two-fold benefit,” he said. “It keeps kids from eating excess candy and has the added benefit of sending some candy to troops overseas and other areas.”
Ransdell said he realized that kids today receive a lot more candy at Halloween than in the past. His own children often come home with 10-15 pounds of candy after trick or treating.
The reaction from the children who participate has been positive. This may be because he does not stress that candy consumption is an all or nothing issue, Ransdell said.
“They realize they shouldn’t be eating it all anyway,” said Ransdell. “We don’t want to take it all away. They can eat some of it.”
He believes the children also appreciate that their candy is going to the troops.
The event tends to attract 60 to 100 kids. In the past, the event was held the day after Halloween. This year the program will be held after school on the Friday after Halloween, which should make it easier for families to attend.
Ransdell buys Halloween candy from the children for $1 per pound. Each child can sell up to 7 pounds. Some children donate additional candy to send to the troops, he said. Kids can also exchange candy for tickets to the activities at the event.
“We have been really fortunate that kids and families have donated additional candy to help pay for postage,” said Ransdell. “Some adults go out and buy candy to give.”
Ransdell sends the candy to troops who are from Spencer County or have some connection to the community. If he does not have enough local service personnel, he sends the rest to a clearinghouse that assigns the packages.
“If anyone has the address of a serviceperson overseas, we would love to add them to our list,” said Ransdell. He is even willing to send packages to friends of friends.
Each box holds about 20 pounds of candy. He usually sends about 25 boxes, and about half were sent to specific servicemen and women last year. Ransdell thinks the troops eat some of the candy, but his understanding is that most of it is used for humanitarian purposes.
“I just feel blessed to be able to do it,” said Ransdell. “They seem very appreciative of it.”