Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - November 11, 2011

Trick or treat trade

Kids exchange 500 pounds of candy for orange and black toothbrushes

Pleasanton pediatric dentist and orthodontist Steven Nerad hosted his office's annual candy buyback again this year, in his never-ending mission to keep children's teeth healthy.

With 500 pounds of candy piled up in his front office at the end of the event, it proved to be another battle won in the war against cavities, his staff noted.

Nerad said he purposely waited until two days after Halloween to collect the candy.

"It's a good way to let kids enjoy it for a few days, then stop the process," said Nerad, who opened his practice in Pleasanton in 1989.

Getting the word out was easy, he said. Fliers were circulated at schools, and patients passed them out in neighborhoods. As a result, 53 students showed up at his Serpentine Lane office to voluntarily turn in their candy in exchange for a black and orange toothbrush, some money, a chance to help their schools and troops serving overseas.

One 7-year-old wanting to do his part for the troops canvassed his neighborhood the day after Halloween, going door to door collecting leftover candy.

For every pound of candy brought in, Nerad paid $1 to the student and pledged to pay $1 to the three schools with the largest amount of candy. This year there was more competition among the schools than ever before, he said.

With the help of the Lydiksen Parent Faculty Club, which turned in 75 pounds of candy while students turned in 42 pounds, Lydicksen Elementary was the top winner. In exchange, it received a matching donation of $117.

Sunshine Enrichment Preschool came in second and received $75; Mohr Elementary School, last year's winner, raised $50.

Nerad donated the 500 pounds of candy he collected to the Brentwood Summerset Veterans Club to include in holiday care packages going to troops serving overseas. Students and parents at the buyback also signed three large posters for the troops.

While the opportunity to benefit the community was a driving force, Nerad wanted to reward the students for their generosity and said he wasn't surprised the orange Halloween toothbrushes with black bristles were a hit.

"It's a great, fun event," he said. "It grows every year. We more than doubled our collection from last year."

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