Jockey Hollow Dentistry (http://www.jockeyhollowdentistry.com/?
“Children don’t need to eat all the candy they collect,” said Dr. Fenichel. “Swapping the candy for cash will prevent cavities and send some happiness to our heroes overseas. And this year, with us all recovering from Sandy, it’s good to know that troops’ families right here in New Jersey are receiving packages from Operation Gratitude. ”
Operation Gratitude is part of a well-established national program that annually sends care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. service members deployed in hostile regions. The program also has divisions that look after service member’s children and assist returning injured warriors. Each Halloween, the organization encourages the candy buy-back. Dentists pay to ship the donated candy to California. Last year, the organization sent 60,000 care packages with 125 tons of candy.
Dr. Fenichel said she became involved with the program two years ago because many of the families at Jockey Hollow Dentistry have members serving in the military. Over the last two years, the dental office has collected almost 600 pounds of candy. In addition, adults can donate sealed lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, mouth wash, small stuffed toys and other items.
This year, because of Superstorm Sandy, Operation Gratitude is providing supplies for military families in the New York/New Jersey area who have been displaced or rendered homeless. Carolyn Blashek, of Operation Gratitude, explained that items that are collected but can’t be sent overseas are being shipped to New York/New Jersey shoreline.
“This is the best use of these items,” she said.
For Dr. Fenichel, participating in Operation Gratitude is more than a way to reduce the amount of candy eaten by children. It’s personal.
“Some of our patients have children in the service,” she said. “I think of them as we’re doing this. It’s a small gesture to send a little taste of this fun-oriented holiday to them.”
Dr. Fenichel said the candy she collects will serve two other purposes.
“I’m told the troops love getting the candy,” she said. “Packages like these are great reminders from home that we’re thinking of them and that we appreciate everything they’re doing. I also understand that the troops enjoy some of the candy, but they also give some of it to the children in the villages where winning hearts is as important as winning military victories.”
One thing Dr. Fenichel says she’s not worried about is contributing to dental problems in combat zones.
“A lot of people ask us about that,” she acknowledged. “Service members are older and their teeth are better developed, so they’re not as susceptible to cavities as young children are. In addition, they understand the need to rinse, brush and floss after eating the sweets.”
Children can bring their candy to Jockey Hollow Dentistry through Nov. 15. Dr. Fenichel and her team will then box the candy and other items and ship them to California, where they will be repackaged as individual care packages.
Dr. Fenichel is the principal at Jockey Hollow Dentistry (http://jockeyhollowdentistry.com)