Dental Hygiene Kits Offered to Food Bank Families at “Drive-Thru” Dental Days
After a long summer of dentists attempting to re-open their offices, it became clear that while off-site charitable dentistry could not be conducted safely, some community outreach providing education and referral support could be completed.
That is when the Arizona Dental Foundation and the Arizona Mission of Mercy joined forces to provide “Drive-Thru Dental Days.” The Arizona Dental Foundation, an affiliate organization of the Arizona Dental Association, reached out to the Arizona Food Bank Network to identify food banks in urban and rural areas in need of assistance. The Arizona Mission of Mercy, under the Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation, scheduled distribution activities on the same day in December 2020, when their annual event would normally occur.
“United Food Bank was happy to partner with Arizona Dental Foundation to provide hygiene packs to families! Each pack helped provide for a family of four. Our volunteers enjoyed pre-packing the bags before our distribution,” said Grace Bishara, corporate engagement and volunteerism manager at the United Food Bank.
This year, because of COVID-19 restrictions for dentistry, organizers hoped they could still help prevent decay through emphasizing the importance of good oral hygiene. Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation provided smile bags for Phoenix, Mesa and Yuma events. The ON Semiconductor Foundation also supported these efforts with funding from a spring 2020 grant.
“Investing in the communities in which we operate and where our employees live is critical to our organization as we look to continue our legacy of giving and volunteering,” said Theresa Haywood-McCarley, senior director of corporate social responsibility at ON Semiconductor and board secretary for ON Semiconductor Foundation. “On behalf of the ON Semiconductor Foundation, we’re proud to support the work of The Arizona Dental Foundation, as we work toward making the world better together, especially being able to emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene and showing that dentists care about their communities.
The events took place at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, United Food Bank in Mesa, Community Food Bank in Yuma and the Flagstaff Family Food Center in Flagstaff.
Volunteers in every community stepped up eager to get out of the office and the classroom to help underserved neighbors by distributing oral hygiene kits and providing car side oral hygiene instruction. Dressed in appropriate protective gear, volunteers in Flagstaff even battled snow flurries while the Yuma volunteers enjoyed interacting with National Guard troops sporting ugly holiday sweaters.
“Thank you for allowing me to help with Drive-Thru Dental Day. It was a wonderful experience to share dental supplies with those that needed them most. It is always so humbling being a part of an event of this nature and seeing how happy people are to receive something so small,” said Anna Hyland, board member for the Arizona Dental Foundation.
Over the two-day event, 3,000 kits were distributed with supplies for adults and children during a time of great demand for such services (and at a cost of only $1 USD per bag!).
Learn more about the ON Semiconductor Foundation and how it supports impactful charities like the Arizona Dental Foundation.