Pacific Palisades Dentistry Annual Candy Buy Back a Sweet Success


For the eleventh year in a row, Pacific Palisades Dentistry and Pacific Palisades Pediatric Dentistry have been collecting unopened Halloween candy to ship overseas to troops through Operation Gratitude—and this year, the office collected nearly 1,000 pounds of treats.

The office buys back the candy from trick-or-treaters for $1 per pound, then sends it through Operation Gratitude, which partners with dentists across the country.

Students from Palisades Charter Elementary School made a special donation this year of 320 pounds.

“We’ve done this for many years, and this was the most generous contribution level we’ve ever had,” Pali Elementary Principal Joan Ingle shared. “Kids that can-do share with others who need. The fact is, families doing this for others is such a nice civic generosity, and it’s astounding how much comes in.”

Dr. Philip Kamins, owner of Pacific Palisades Dentistry, explained that the team buys the excess treats “because no kid needs five pounds of candy,” touching on the annual Pali Elementary donation.

“We have been doing this for 11 years,” Kamins shared. “It’s a win, win, win for everybody.”

Photo by Sarah Shmerling

The Halloween Candy Buy Back program, traditionally taking place the first week after Halloween, was extended this year through November 14. The office does not turn away candy donations that continue to roll in until the shipment is sent out.

“Decay is the most chronic childhood disease,” Dr. Carrie Loewen, a pediatric dentist in the office, explained. “It’s more common than asthma in children, so it’s great that we can do this and hopefully prevent some more cavities.”

“I’m also an Army brat, so it really touches me,” Loewen continued. “I know what it’s like to not have certain things when you’ve gone somewhere else.”

Loewen’s mother was a physiotherapist in the U.S. Army, causing her to travel a lot as a child before becoming a dentist.

“It saves lives by gaining the trust of the children,” explained Elise Macaluso, executive director of Pacific Palisades Dentistry, on how the U.S. military will share some of the candy with the kids they meet overseas.

“It’s great that our community can come together and support one another in Operation Gratitude,” Macaluso shared. “We are grateful to everyone.”