Oral Surgery Group Launches Volunteer Day, Holiday Food Drive

(Jacksonville-) The wish list of many area families may contain something as simple as a warm jacket, a well-balanced meal, or a child’s birthday present. Jacksonville-based charities are reporting a growing need for donations this year, as people are turning to them for help with more than a handout. A group of local oral surgeons and their staff are stepping in to help, asking their colleagues, patients and the community to join them in collecting non-perishable food items from November 12-16. “With five doctors and thirty-five staff members, we have set a pretty ambitious goal of taking in 2012 lbs. of food, clothing and personal hygiene products. When it is 2013, we will probably shoot for 2013 lbs. We love a challenge. Donations may be dropped off at whichever office is most convenient, during normal business hours,” explains Dr. David A. O’Brien of North Florida Oral & Facial Surgery, P.A.

“If people have to choose between buying food and other essentials, a lot of the time, food wins out,” O’Brien says. The group plans to provide cases of toothpaste, mouthwash, and toothbrushes to the Mandarin Food Bank when the non-perishable foods are delivered. According to Mandarin Food Bank’s co-director, Bonnie McNulty, warm clothing is one reason that people are stopping by these days. Shampoo and other personal care products, small household items, toys, and games are also needed; as are clean, gently-used clothing for children and adults.

In order to meet their goal of filling 475 Thanksgiving baskets this year, the Mandarin Food Bank is asking for donations of boxed potatoes, stuffing mix, turkey gravy, and black-eyed peas. “It’s a little scary, to be honest. In 2011, we served 20,000 people, and we are running ahead of that number now,” McNulty says. “Donations are down, so we just spent $2,000 to replenish the shelves with staples that would normally be donated to us,” she adds. Other non-perishable items like canned meats, pasta, canned vegetables, soup, and jelly are in demand, too. “Providing food to 40 families every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, it adds up fast. That’s 120 cans of tuna week,” McNulty comments.

The Mandarin Food Bank began as a 900 square foot building without heat or lights in 1991, and has grown to just over 7,000 square feet today. They served 1,000 families that first year, and have helped more than 250,000 people to date. North Florida Oral & Facial Surgery, P.A. was established about that same time, and has grown from a single office on University Boulevard to five locations: Southpoint (Dr. Gregory W. Hartley), Mandarin (Dr. Gregory J. Groshan), Ponte Vedra (Dr. David D. Woods), Orange Park (Dr. David A. O’Brien), and Regency (Dr. Scott R. Sklenicka). The partners have asked their staff members to volunteer at one of the area food banks on Saturday, November 10th, and are encouraging a friendly competition with prizes for those who log the most hours.

To donate, visit one of the following North Florida Oral & Facial Surgery offices November 12-16 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: 4181 Southpoint Drive E., Suite 200, Jacksonville; 3007 Hartley Road, Jacksonville, 115 Professional Drive, Suite 105, Ponte Vedra; 2141 Loch Rane Boulevard, Suite 122, Orange Park; 9550 Regency Square Boulevard, Suite 908, Jacksonville. For more information, or for directions, please call (904) 234-0688 or visit www.nfofs.com.