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Buyer Beware: Donation Bags At Grocery Store Full Of Candy

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - A Carrollton shopper was shocked to find Halloween lollipops among items available for customers to purchase, to help feed the hungry.

"Seeing Halloween lollipops really ticked me off, because I felt like I'm being taken advantage of," Nusin Van Winkle said irritated. "That the store couldn't sell its Halloween products, so I'm paying for them to donate to the hungry."

Health is a top priority for Winkle, a professor with a medical background. She calls herself a proud Sprouts shopper. "I was very disappointed. I had higher expectations from Sprouts. If I want to buy healthy produce, meat, fish, I go to Sprouts."

Winkle says she often participates in Sprouts' holiday effort to give back to families in need. Through its "Grab 'n Give" program Sprouts boasts having provided over 1.6 million healthy meals to local communities last year.

"I want to grab a bag, but I want it to be healthy as it states on the bag," she says.

On Monday night, she realized a group of bags meant for donation, contained what she felt were less than healthy options. She snapped several photos of receipts listing such contents as "Halloween lollipops," and "Halloween Bunny Grahams."

"I was not happy at all," she said.

Van Winkle immediately got to work, contacting the company via email and on its Facebook page. She also warned neighbors on Facebook to review the contents of the bags before purchasing.

"I don't want to discourage anyone from donating. I just want people to be more mindful about what they're donating," she explained.

The company responded to her concerns via a phone call Wednesday night. "It sounded very sincere," Van Winkle says. She added that a representative explained the bags do not go to individuals or families, but rather to local food banks which sort items and distribute them by need.

"The annual Grab 'N Give holiday food drive is designed to help feed the hungry in our local communities at a time when they need the most support," said Erin Miller, Sprouts' Senior Communications Specialist, via statement.

"We work with food banks to create a wish list of items for the bags and most contain pantry staples such as pasta, rice, oats, broth, beans and snacks such as chips, cookies and drinks. We have shared the approved list of food items with management at Sprouts Carrollton and have confirmed that the remaining bags have been filled with a diverse mixture of products," the statement read in part.

After her phone call Van Winkle felt confident Halloween lollipops would not be a part of that approved list. She says will continue shopping at Sprouts and continue to contribute to its Grab 'N Give program. She will simply make sure the contents of the bags are items she considers nutritional.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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