Why are we smiling this week at Piscataquis Regional Food Center? It’s because we debuted a new program–the Smile Pack Program. The Smile Pack Program will deliver dental care kits that include toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss/flossers to local food cupboard patrons. Starting this week, PRFC will collect new, unopened dental items and we will distribute them to 15 school, community, and church partner agencies throughout the region. With the help of volunteers, PRFC will assemble dental care kits for both children and adults.
PRFC’s mission is to “Get Food Moving” in Piscataquis County, so why are we talking about teeth? According to the National Library of Medicine, There is “a significant association between low food security and unmet dental care need” in the United States. People who are experiencing food insecurity are much more likely to have unmet dental needs and are much less likely to be able to afford routine dental care. Teeth are expensive and, for some mind-boggling reason, not included in most health insurance plans. In addition to being a visible indicator of socioeconomic status, unmet dental issues can spiral out systematically, leading to other health issues.
“While PRFC’s mission is to connect people with sources of healthy food and to stimulate the regional agricultural economy, the connection between food insecurity and poor dental hygiene makes the Smile Pack Program a natural fit for our organization,” stated Kelly Sirimoglu, PRFC Executive Director. “Combining support from the community, school clubs and local businesses with our ability to reach distribution partners throughout Piscataquis and Penobscot counties means we will be able to help thousands of children, seniors and families.”
There are many ways you can help your neighbors Smile. Visit prfoodcenter.org/smile to make a financial donation or to learn more about the program. Contact PRFC at (207) 802-8230 or email@example.com if your school group, community organization, or team would like to hold a dental care drive. We would love to see some friendly rivalry among school teams, area offices, school homerooms, etc. to see who can collect the most dental care supplies. If you are interested in hosting a drive, visit the program website to get your hands on promotional material!
Dental care items can be donated at PRFC's office, 76 North Street, Dover-Foxcroft, Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. The drop-off bin is located at the PRFC entrance, at the top of the first set of wooden stairs. Look for the GIANT TOOTHBRUSH!