It may not make the Guinness World Records book as the largest single shipment of candy, but Suchitra Nelson from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine probably goes down in university records as having one of the largest candy deliveries ever. On Tuesday, October 9, she received 14,000 pounds of gummy bears through an in-kind shipment provided by FedEx.
Nelson, associate professor in the Department of Community Dentistry at the dental school, will send the gummy bears to the East Cleveland elementary schools for the Healthy Bears for Healthy Smiles Program, an oral health research project. The research has received a four-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The gummy bears made their way from Santa Cruz, California, to Cleveland with the help of a special delivery freight truck from FedEx, decorated in colorful hearts and the slogan of "supporting our community."
Michael Madigan, service center manager for FedEx Freight Cleveland in Brook Park, Ohio, said the delivery is part of the center's Diversity Week celebration. Each center can chose to celebrate the week in a number of ways. The local center decided to help Nelson with her delivery.
"We like to support the communities in which we live and work," said Ryan Henary, a communications supervisor for FedEx Custom Critical in Uniontown. He added the program would have a positive impact on the lives of East Cleveland children.
The local FedEx Freight Center put in a special request to its Memphis office to have the truck, with a capacity of 28,000 pounds, deliver the sweet treats to the university's Mail Center at 10620 Cedar Road, under the watchful eye of Crystal Campbell, who coordinated the mail room delivery.
Starting this year and following through the second grade, kindergarten children will begin to receive the candy coated with xylitol, an anti-bacterial sweetener, to see if it will prevent cavities in small children. A control group will receive plain organic fiber gummy bears, specially made by a California firm for the research project.
Eating gummy bears will be given, in addition, to a whole line of oral health preventions: toothpaste and toothbrushes, fluoride varnish, sealants and oral health examinations and education.
"We want to see if xylitol gives children added protection," Nelson said.
The kindergarteners will receive two gummy bears three times a day during the school year under the guidance of their teachers, outreach workers and study coordinator Terrance Richardson, who is a doctoral student at the university.