gifts in action:

Delta Dental of Kentucky Supports Resources for Hungry Families

In America today, many children don’t know what causes dental disease and how they can prevent tooth decay. The result is often a lifetime of poor oral health.

Kentucky residents face steep disparity when it comes to being healthy. More than 16% of Kentuckians live below the poverty level, the 5th highest percentage in the country. To make matters worse, the state ranks 43rd in oral health and 47th for overall health

“The Oral Health IQ is very low and Mountain Dew is the go-to drink,” says Tracy Laughner, a dental hygienist who travels around the state to teach kids how to keep their smiles healthy. “Many children see their parents without teeth so they expect that this may be just how life is.”

Every child should know how to keep their smiles healthy and have what they need to prevent tooth decay.

That’s why, in addition to supporting programs like Tracy’s, we were honored to partner with Delta Dental of Kentucky to improve the lives of children in the state by providing Oral Health Action HERO education resource kits to food banks and pantries serving families experiencing food insecurity. The kits included materials to encourage effective dental hygiene habits and healthy food choices, as well as oral care products for at-home dental care.

“The coloring books and info for the kids will be a great addition to give through our pantry assistance program!” 

– Julie Kwasniewski, executive director, Blue Grass Farms Charities

The kits were distributed to 16 food pantries across the state and contained enough resources to reach 2,500 children and their caregivers. In addition to basic dental hygiene tips, the materials explain how choosing sugary and starchy foods feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay and which foods to eat instead for a healthier smile.

Each kit was distributed in a brown lunch sack printed with oral health tips that also contained a healthy snack, a new toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.

“Hygiene items are one of the most requested things in our organization,” Sally Michelson of Community Kitchen in Padacah told us. “It helps us so much to be able to provide these items to individuals and families. We greatly appreciate the donation!”

“We are so thankful you shared the supplies with us. Our clients were delighted to receive them and seemed excited to share them with their children. Bless you!”

– Donna Lawyer, Calvary Care Center, Bowling Green, KY

Other organizations that received kits included:

Jubilee/Operation Eat, Phelps

Berea Food Bank, Berea

Sister Visitor Center, Louisville

Guiding Light Community Church Food Pantry, Pikeville

Be Concerned, Inc, Covington

Jessamine County Food Pantry, Nicholasville

Brighton Center, Newport

Blue Grass Farms Charities Pantry for the Horsemen, Lexington

Matthew's Table, Owensboro

FoodChain, Lexington

St. Bernard Food Pantry, Dayton

The Salvation Army, Frankfort

Calvary Care Center, Bowling Green

Bluegrass Community Health Center, Lexington

Oak Ridge Baptist Lighthouse Ministries, Covington

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