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Students give up Halloween goodies in contest

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Hundreds of local students racked up tons of sweet goodies Halloween and most likely have hit their sugar highs by now.

And while they might hoard a bit more, they are able to give up their candy to benefit American troops overseas.

Eight Wilson County schools are in a competition that will benefit American service men in a contest sponsored by Snodgrass-King dental group, Jet's Pizza, Crest and Operation Gratitude.

Dr. David Snodgrass, who has a practice in Mt. Juliet and other areas, said this is the 4th Annual Treats for Troops program. He said it's not your average candy buy back. Last year was the first year Mt. Juliet schools took part, and it was so successful three Spring Hill schools will also take part.

"This is a program designed to not only show our troops some love, but to make a positive impact in Wilson County and Spring Hill schools," Snodgrass said.

The program encourages students to bring Halloween candy to school where they will put it in a plastic bag. The candy will be turned in and weighed, and the school with the most candy will win big dough. The candy will then be shipped overseas to troops who appreciate care packages.

Last year, the eight participating Mt. Juliet schools garnered more than 2,300 pounds of candy to send to troops overseas. Snodgrass-King, in turn donated a total of $4,000 to the participating schools.

This year West, Elzie Patton, Stoner Creek, Mt. Juliet, Rutland, Lakeview, W.A. Wright and Gladeville Elementary Schools will participate. The Spring Hill schools are Longview, Spring Hill and Marvin Elementary Schools. Each school will win $250 and up to $1,500 just for donating candy. Students will also have a chance to win door prizes.

Snodgrass is a veteran. He said there are several positive aspects to the program.

"I know first-hand what it's like not to have my name called at mail call," he said. "I take pride and honor to give our troops a treat and all the while we are preventing cavities."

"Along with the obvious prevention of cavities, an addiction to candy can lead to future cardiovascular disease, diabetes and childhood obesity," Snodgrass said.

"All the candy can also lead to hyperactivity," he added. "I'm sure the teachers appreciate this!"

Stoner Creek's school is up against Mt. Juliet Elementary in the competition. Last year they collected more than 500 pounds of candy.

"This is about being generous and helping out our troops," Stoner Creek Principal Christine Miller said. "It's learning to give back and another way to partner with the community for the betterment of all. The students love it."

Once all the candy is collected, Snodgrass will send it to Operation Gratitude. There, they will create the care packages and send them overseas. Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than one million care packages to date.

The contest ends on Friday. Snodgrass said the candy must be to Operation Gratitude mid-November.

Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at laurieeverett1@gmail.com.

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