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Smiles extra sparkly at mission thanks to Christmas dental drive
Those staying at Crossroads Mission will be able to enjoy sparkling smiles and fresh breath this holiday season thanks to students from Gila Vista Junior High School.
The Gila Vista Student Council recently donated 250 toothbrushes, 90 packages of dental floss and 35 boxes of toothpaste to the nonprofit organization. The dental hygiene products were collected during a “Toothbrush Drive” held at the school from Dec. 11-13.
To get other students involved in the drive, student council members made posters that were hung around the campus, as well as fliers which were sent home with students.
Their initial goal was to collect 200 toothbrushes, “so I am happy that we passed our goal collecting,” said Jessica Padilla, a philanthropy officer with the Gila Vista Student Council who helped organize the toothbrush drive.
As the philanthropy officer, Padilla is tasked with brainstorming different ideas the student council can use to contribute to the Yuma community, she said.
“In the past we have helped at the Food Bank, but with everyone having different schedules, doing a drive was a better way for us to serve the community.”
Padilla was inspired to collect dental hygiene products because such donations are uncommon, she said.
“I always see food drives, coat drives and sock drives, but nothing for the teeth.” Additionally, “I think toothbrushes are easy, and lighter in my backpack than cans of food. Plus, if you look at a new packaged toothbrush, it has a hook to hang from a tree.”
The toothbrushes were hung from a Christmas tree on display in the school office.
“Student Council would collect the brushes from each homeroom classroom, and then use them as decoration on the tree,” Padilla said.
Giving to others was worth the effort to organize the drive and collect the dental hygiene products, Padilla added.
“When I went to Crossroads Mission to deliver the brushes, and saw the people and kids, I felt good and happy. Barbara Rochester (the volunteer director at Crossroads) had some of the kids that are staying at the Mission come and help decorate another tree with extra toothbrushes we had. The kids were so excited to help.”
Padilla is currently in the eighth grade, and hopes the toothbrush drive becomes an annual tradition at the school after she continues on to high school.
“This is my last year there, but it would be really cool to see this toothbrush drive become a yearly event for Gila Vista and the Student Council,” she said.
Chris McDaniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6849.