Volunteers provided MOM’s hospitality

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, March 5, 2015

By Gina Pitrone

On Saturday, more than 600 uninsured and underinsured people received dental care, and nearly 500 volunteers made it happen. There was a behind-the-scenes effort that was not reported.

I’m referencing the enormous amount of donated food, drinks and volunteer hours that went into making the Mission of Mercy project possible.

Email newsletter signup

An amazing team of dedicated volunteers fulfilled this monumental accomplishment by working nonstop for 12 hours to feed 500 volunteers breakfast and lunch. Food poured into the King’s Fork Middle School cafeteria starting around noon on Friday and did not stop until the last patient was seen at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Food donations included contributions from Chick-fil-A, Farm Fresh, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Holiday Ice, Holland’s Produce, Little Caesar’s, Sal’s Pizzeria by Maurizio, McDonald’s, Subway, Wal-Mart, local churches, private donors and dozens of generous families who made cookies and cakes.

These local businesses gave, because they care and want to give back to the community. Their support was astounding!

I did a little back-of-the-envelope math last night, and it appears that the hospitality team ushered in more than $20,000 worth of food and services to the Mission of Mercy Project.

Feeding the volunteers and keeping them hydrated was no easy feat. The quantity, quality and variety of food and drink were all the more impressive.

More than 500 volunteer hours was spent in contacting donors, coordinating donations and getting contributions of food delivered. According to the independent sector, volunteer time is calculated at $22 per hour. That’s $11,000 of time and talent this team contributed to the MOM Project.

If you add the food at a modest $8 per person for breakfast and $12 per person for lunch, the total food value was more than $10,000. Therefore, the overall contribution was well over $20,000. There were intangible items coupled with the tangible ones that made these community contributions priceless.

It is hard to truly convey what these volunteers did to improve the overall health of 600 people in need of oral health services. These groups of patients, who have no other way to get dental care, are now pain free due to the willingness of volunteers who contribute their time and talents.

Certainly, we are grateful for the role of MOM project director Dr. Ralph Howell and to many other dental professionals for their contributions. However, one cannot heap enough praise on Mary Jane and Doug Naismith. They were intimately involved with the MOM Project last year and volunteered to chair the Hospitality Committee this year. They lead the hospitality effort with a keen attention to detail and warmth that made each volunteer feel appreciated.

Today, a small piece of the world is a healthier place because of Mary Jane and Doug Naismith, their team of dedicated volunteers and their willingness to put others before themselves.

Thank you from the depths of my heart.

Gina Pitrone is the executive director of the Obici Healthcare Foundation.