What is Franklin County Smiles?
Franklin County Smiles is United Way's dental health initiative with two main goals; to increase dental health education and awareness and provide dental health supplies for our neighbors in need.
Why is dental health a priority for United Way?
Oral health is more important than you might realize! Practicing good dental health and routinely seeing a dentist is good for your teeth, mouth, and gums. Problems in your mouth can also affect the rest of your body! However, not everyone in our region has access to the care and supplies they need to maintain a healthy smile. Access to adequate dental care is a persistent rural health issue and Franklin County is not immune. In addition to being a HRSA designated Health Professional Shortage Area, several other factors contribute to the difficulty of accessing dental health care including; geographic isolation, higher poverty rates, lack of adequate transportation, large elderly populations, difficulty finding providers who accept MassHealth, and lack of fluoridated water.
How does Franklin County Smiles help?
Two ways! Each spring Women's Way and United Way holds the Toothfairy Supply Drive to collect at home dental hygiene products for our neighbors. Next, we team up with the Community Health Center of Franklin County to provide a day of high-quality dental care to the community free of charge and distribute free dental supplies. This free care day helps provide services and supplies to those in need while raising awareness about the importance of good dental health and the services provided at the Community Health Center. This year's Toothfairy Supply Drive will kick off Saturday, May 5 at the Greenfield Farmer's Market and we'll continue collecting supplies at the office through June 5. This year's Free Care Day will be held on Saturday, June 30 at the Community Health Center's new downtown location, 102 Main Street in Greenfield.
How Can I help?
Thanks so much for your help! There are lots of ways to get involved! Here are a few ideas.
- Hold a supply drive at your office or school.
- Make an online gift to help purchase supplies.
- Volunteer to help sort and package supplies.
- If you're a dental health professional, donate time to the Free Care Day or professional supplies like fluoride rinse.
Have another idea? We'd love to hear from you! Email Alyssa Valbona at firstname.lastname@example.org.