Halloween meant a huge haul of candy for children across the East End — but instead of eating the sweets, local kids have donated over 3000 lbs., to troops stationed overseas, just in time for a gesture of love and support for Veteran’s Day.
Southold resident Dina Reilly embarked upon her yearly mission to collect the goodies through her office, Bach Grazina East End Orthodontics., collecting a total of 3,269 lbs., with three more schools to collect from next week. This year is the fifth time that Reilly’s employer has sponsored the candy buyback initiative, under Dr. Victor Grazina and Dr. Richard Bach. The candy was collected from 18 schools from Wading River to Greenport and across the South Fork.
“This year, Dr. Vic rented a U-Haul and the candy went directly to the American Legion post in Eastport,” Reilly said. Her kids, she said, were disappointed to learn the huge candy haul wasn’t going to be stored in their house, as it was last year.
Volunteers are needed, she said, to help sort the candy because the Eastport American Legion has been “overwhelmed with the huge amount of candy, and needs some help.”
In addition, Reilly said donations are needed for the post to cover shipping the cost of the car packages; while much of the candy will be shipped on “mercy flights” some will be delivered via the postal services.
The candy is collected directly from the schools and weighed, and the schools win, too, with Dr. Grazina buying it back for $1 a pound, up to $200 per school. The funds are donated to school PTAs. Smaller schools receive a check for $50, no matter how little they donate.
Meanwhile, in Riverhead, just in time for Veteran’s Day, students at the Pulaski Street School concluded a two-day Halloween Candy Drive competition by weighing and boxing up 684.4 lbs. of candy from their Halloween bags to send to deployed soldiers.
The Pulaski “Candy for the Troops” competition was conceived by sixth grader Marissa Braunreuther, whose mom, Mary Ellen, is on the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Adopt-a-Platoon team.
The candy collection effort was organized at Pulaski by teacher Cyndi Haverty and her sixth grade class. BNL will arrange and pay for the shipping costs to send the candy overseas and reward the winning class with a pizza party.
“I brought in all of my candy,” Marissa said. “Except the Jolly Ranchers,” she amended. “I really like Jolly Ranchers.”
The class not only organized the effort, but also brought in the most candy, with a grand total of 140.6 lbs. The sixth grade total was 390.4 lbs., withMichael Kanter’s fifth grade donating 76 lbs. of candy, or a fifth grade total of 294.0 lbs.
“We also encouraged the teachers to have their students write letters to send along with the candy, and elementary students made and gave us cards to send along,” Haverty said. “In an effort to reinforce some math skills, we had our students working with decimals during the weighing, tracking and graphing process.”