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Dutchess County’s Great Halloween Candy Exchange Teaches Good Health While Supporting U.S. Troops Overseas

Published: 10/23/2015

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie… Attention, goblins! Calling all ghouls! Trick-or-treaters can share some of their Halloween candy with U.S. Armed Forces troops and receive fun literary and fitness prizes as part of the 10th Annual Great Halloween Candy Exchange.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced the Dutchess County Department of Health will partner with All Sport Health and Fitness, The Children's Medical Group, Learning Insights and Traditional Okinawan Karate for the 10th Annual Great Halloween Candy Exchange Program on Sunday, November 1st from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at various locations throughout the Dutchess County, along with two locations in Ulster County.

“Not only does the Great Halloween Candy Exchange program bring a little bit of home to our troops serving overseas, it also gives families a great way to teach their children about sharing, literacy and physical activity,” County Executive Molinaro said. “By supporting our soldiers with a small donation of candy, our children will be rewarded with the love of reading and good health.”

The program is simple: On the day after Halloween, children can donate a pound or more of Halloween trick-or-treat candy to be shipped to U.S. troops serving overseas.  For every pound of candy donated at one of the designated drop-off sites, children will receive a free, age-appropriate new book or a free fun pass. This year’s choices include: a general admission pass to a 2016 Hudson Valley Renegades game, a mini-golf pass to Overlook Golf and Recreation Center, a family skate pass to McCann Ice Arena, a two week membership to Traditional Okinawan Karate or New Paltz Karate Academy or a family fitness pass to All Sport Health and Fitness.

Candy can be dropped off from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 1st at the following locations:

Fishkill All Sport Health and Fitness, 17 Old Main Street, Fishkill
Highland Learning Insights, 3548 Route 9W, Highland
Hyde Park The Children’s Medical Group, 4252 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park
Pleasant Valley Traditional Okinawan Karate, 2B Maggiacomo Lane, Pleasant Valley
Poughkeepsie The Children’s Medical Group, 104 Fulton Avenue, Poughkeepsie
New Paltz Traditional Okinawan Karate, 22 North Front St, New Paltz

In 2014, more than 1,300 pounds of candy were collected and shipped to troops serving overseas. Children are encouraged to include a friendly letter to the soldiers with their candy donations.   Both the candy and the letters are welcome reminders of home for soldiers to let them know how much they are appreciated. Participants who bring a letter will be entered into a drawing to win one of the following prizes: two free passes to Bounce, two free passes to Poughkidsie or a free month and uniform from Traditional Okinawan Karate or New Paltz Karate Academy.    

Joseph F. Heavy, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Medical Group stated, “The Children’s Medical Group is once again pleased to participate in this candy exchange.  It’s such a great way to have families participate in healthy activities such as reading with their children and fun physical alternatives to TV and video games.”

The Great Halloween Candy Exchange is a community project, organized by All Sport Health and Fitness, The Children’s Medical Group, Dutchess County Department of Health, Learning Insights and Traditional Okinawan Karate. These partners work together to plan this annual event. Sponsors include A & R Security, All Access Dental, Bottini Fuel, Haddad Cleaning, Herb Redl Properties, Kiwanis Club of Poughkeepsie, Rose Hill Manor Day School, and Safeguard Printing Promotional & Apparel. All Sport Health and Fitness, The Hudson Valley Renegades, The McCann Ice Arena, Overlook Golf and Recreation Center and Traditional Okinawan Karate generously donated family fun passes.