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Candy Exchange Benefits Students, U.S. Troops

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Sydney and Kathryn Warwick went to school Thursday with a big bag of the candy they collected on Halloween and left with a toothbrush.

Their candy will be shipped overseas to U.S. troops in Iraq as part of the Halloween Candy Exchange Program, which traded Mamaroneck's elementary school students tooth brushes for Halloween candy before school Tuesday through Thursday. Mamaroneck Avenue, where the Warwicks attend, collected over 600 pounds, Central collected 292 pounds, and Murray Avenue and Chatsworth each collected 150 pounds.

"Our children have plenty of candy, and of course they want to eat as much as they want, but even if they give half away they still have plenty," said Hilde Friderichs, a PTA member at Mamaroneck Avenue who initiated the program last year.

Friderichs stood with her daughters Amelia and Melina by one of the four school entrances, holding a "Candy Drop-Off" sign, a bag for donated candy and a box of tooth brushes to give out to students like the Warwicks. Other mothers did the same at each of the other exits at MAS, in addition to each of the other elementary schools.

"It helps the troops and it's better for the kids to get rid of some of the candy in exchange for a toothbrush," said Alli Margoshus, whose children Lilly and Henry also helped out.

The PTA set a target weight, which would earn all grade levels 15 extra minutes of recess.

"Next week we'll set up a schedule where each grade will get extra recess time," said Carrie Amon, principal of MAS.

Shipping all of that weight overseas would have been costly, but Friderichs was able to do it free of charge through an organization called Operation Shoebox in Florida, which ships supplies to the U.S. troops regularly. Collins Brothers Moving Co. in Larchmont offered to load the candy onto one of its trucks routed for Florida, also free of charge.

"They were really nice and this year we're going to do it again," said Friderichs, who brought Mamaroneck Avenue's eight boxes to Collins Brothers for shipment Thursday afternoon.

Parents like Sylvia Munson like the program because they usually throw out a lot of the candy. Now, it can go to a good cause, Munson said.

"I had this image of this child in Iraq, or Afghanistan opening for the first time a candy wrapper," said Friderichs. "These soldiers are far away from home and are going through terrible stuff, they might as well have a really nice memory to open a piece of Halloween candy and just enjoy it for a moment, and maybe even share it with a child who has never had candy."

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