The holiday season is often touted as “the best time of the year!” While this is true for many, for some it can be the most difficult. For individuals and families coping with homelessness, in crisis, or dealing with a time of personal hardship, this time of year can be intensely challenging to face and even harder get through. When basic needs aren’t being met, the gift-giving season can take a toll. So during this season of abundance, consider giving someone less fortunate their smile back.
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouth rinse are everyday items that are often taken for granted. But these items enable people to enjoy one of the greatest gifts of all: a healthy smile. During difficult times, the smallest acts of kindness can mean the world for those in need. This season consider donating these basic tools for maintaining oral health and hygiene to a charity that supports those in need. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider some of the options listed below.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in January 2014 there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness. This number includes families with children and individuals. National charities, like Catholic Charities, support the homeless, have a home base in most cities, and often take donations throughout the year and over the holidays. Most local homeless shelters also take donations and are in desperate need of oral hygiene products as well. Neighborhood churches put an extra effort toward making sure that everyone stays warm and cozy, and that everyone feels the spirit of community during the winter months. They are a great point of contact for your donation.
Somewhere between 2 million and 4 million women are victims of domestic violence each year. Many of them have children, and they may have little time to gather personal items before fleeing their abusers. They come to shelters without their clothing or personal supplies. Shelters are always looking for hygiene supplies and personal care products, especially around the holidays. Dental hygiene care pages that include child-friendly toothpastes, rinses, and brushes are appreciated and put to good use.
Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children. The houses run year-round and offer a place for parents and family members to stay so that they can be close to their children while getting a break from the hospital atmosphere. They have many of the same comforts as home, including hot showers, laundry facilities, snacks, Internet access, and television. The Ronald McDonald House wish list includes individually packaged toothbrushes and toothpaste — a simple way to encourage a smile.
Budgets run tight during this season of giving. Oftentimes the idea of charitable giving can feel out of reach for many of us. It’s important to remember that something as small as a toothbrush can make all the difference in the world for those facing hardship. Every thoughtful act that comes from the heart ends in a smile.
Contact Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry to find out more about how you can give members of our community the gift of a smile this holiday season!