What started out as a cavity-fighting gimmick by a dentist has turned into a major national drive that helps U.S. troops serving overseas.
Last year, 5600 pounds of candy collected by several dentists in the Philadelphia area was shipped to the battle zone. This year, with more dentists than ever involved, the operation hopes to break its own record.
The servicemen & women use the candy to befriend local children, in an effort to promote democracy and gather information.
Spearheading the drive is Dr. Steve Markus of the Centre for Dentistry in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. He and other cooperating dentists will be collecting candy from November 1-5.
NFI Freight, a trucking company, will have a trailer at Dr. Markus' office to collect the goodies. The candy will then be shipped to Keystone Soldiers, a Berks County-based military support group, which will then send the candy overseas. Last year, Keystone Soldiers spent $10,000 for the shipping. So this year, organizers are asking school PTA's, athletic leagues, businesses, and others to make donations to defray the costs.
Dr. Harry "Buzz" Waterston, one of the cooperating dentists, says the community support has been great. "We've got gift coupons from Wawa, frisbees from Commerce Bank, and more for giveaways, and some jewelry made by a local artist for a prize drawing."
Dr. Markus says, "The kids who've taken part in this the past several years have truly gotten an understanding of charitable giving. They are taking something that was valuable to them, and giving it to others who need it.
"The letters that some children wrote to our soldiers, to accompany the cartons of candy, were heartwarming," Dr. Markus says.
Here are some of the dentists taking part:
Stephen Markus Mark Scott Dawn Phillips The Centre for Dentistry at Haddon 209 White Horse Pike Haddon Heights, NJ 08035 856-546-0665 www.smilesouthjersey.com Hours: Sat 10 -4 Mon 9 – 7 Tues 9 – 4 Weds 9 - 7
Harry "Buzz" Waterston Waterston Dental Care 200 E. State St., Suite 209 Media, PA 19063 610-891-1718 www.delcoexpertdentist.com Hours: Nov. 1, 10 AM to 3 PM
Gary L. Henkel D.D.S. M.A.G.D. Pine Run Dental and Implant Center 301 Horsham Rd Horsham, Pa. 19044 215-672-6666 www.pinerundental.com Hours: Sat 8:30 to 1p Sun- not usually open but we can be to do collections in the afternoon Monday 9-5 Tuesday 8:30-8:30 Wednesday 9-5
Ron Rotem 355 Lakehurst Road Toms River, NJ 08755 732-341-8500 www.drrotem.com Hours:: Sat: Nov 1 -- Sun: Nov 2 -- Mon: Nov 3 12-5 Tues: Nov 4 12-5 Weds: Nov 5 12-5
Harry Monokian and Sons Monokian Family and Cosmetic Dentistry 151 Greentree Road Suite A Marlton, NJ 08053 856-983-9620 www.monokiandentistry.com Hours: Sat: Nov 1: 8am-12pm Sun: Nov 2: Closed Mon: Nov 3: 8am-9pm Tues: Nov 4: 8am-5pm Weds: Nov 5: 8am-5pm
Joseph A. Berretone Jr. DMD 4503 Atlantic Ave Atlantic City, NJ 08401 609-345-3377 Hours: Mon: Nov 3 8:30 -5 Weds: Nov 5 10:30 – 5
Dr. Jeffrey M. Rosenberg The Dental HealthCare Group 413 Bainbridge St. Philadelphia, PA 191947 215-592-4747 www.Philadelphiasdentist.com Hours: Mon: Nov 3 8AM-5PM Tues: Nov 4 8AM-7PM Weds: Nov 5 8AM-5PM
John Nosti, DMD, FAGD, FACE Advanced Cosmetic and General Dentistry 4705 Harding Highway Mays Landing, NJ 08330 609-625-3499 www.CosmeticDentistryofSJ.com Hours: Saturday 9am-3pm Monday 9am-5pm Tuesday 8am-2pm Wednesday 9am-6pm