Volunteers from UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® handed out over 100 dental goodie bags and 200 electronic toothbrushes to families from the city’s Greater East End community at the Morales Memorial Foundation’s 23rd Annual School Supply Distribution in August.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the free event was held in drive-thru fashion in designated parking lots on Houston Community College's southeast campus.
Volunteers from UTSD included dental students Dominique Angibeau, Dara Meghna, and Diego Rivas; dental hygiene student Carolina Rangel; Dental Van Driver Pat Henshaw, CDA, RDA; Community Outreach Director Margo Melchor, RDH, EdD, and Sophia Saeed, DMD, associate dean for patient care.
Each goodie bag included a pediatric toothbrush, dental floss, and toothpaste. Electronic toothbrushes were donated by Desi Nuckols, scientific relations manager at Procter & Gamble.
“Having spent most of the summer at home with limited socializing due to COVID precautions, it was especially rewarding to get out and volunteer,” Meghna said. “My interactions with families were brief and through the back of their cars as I placed oral hygiene kits in trunks; however, I could clearly see the kids’ excitement of a new school year and a new, cool toothbrush.”
Texas State Rep. Christina Morales, president of the Morales Memorial Foundation, expressed gratitude for UTSD’s participation. “We couldn’t do this work without [UTSD]. Everyone had a great experience volunteering.”
In total, volunteers distributed more than 1,500 school supply kits, books, face masks, and toys. In addition, over 25,000 pounds of food, two truckloads of pet food, and free vouchers for child vaccinations and pet spaying and neutering were handed out.
Volunteers also helped families fill out 2020 Census and voter registration information.