Smiles are so important these days, and Assistance League of Santa Barbara is helping make sure that children in our community are able to give big ones. Donations of colorful Smiles Dental Kits, complete with a toothbrush, toothpaste, timer, flossers and tips for a healthy smile, are being included in every bag of school supplies filled through the Assistance League’s Operation School Bell® and Santa Barbara Smiles philanthropies.
Established in 2005, Smiles normally serves 1000 children and 600 adults each year by providing dental health education at the Eastside Family Dental Clinic. Volunteers are trained to discuss good dental hygiene and nutrition with families in half-hour sessions. In past years, Smiles Dental Kits were distributed at the clinic and at school-based health fairs sponsored by the County Public Health Department. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this is no longer possible, however, the Smiles Dental Kits are getting the message out there.
Packed inside a backpack with a hoodie, t-shirts, pants or leggings, underwear and socks, a school kit, and a hygiene kit, the Smiles Dental Kits are being delivered through Operation School Bell to schools in the Santa Barbara, Hope and Carpinteria districts. Parents of children who qualify in these schools will be notified when they can come and pick up their child’s customized bag. Children in the Goleta Unified School District are receiving bags with clothes and school supplies through the Las Aletas auxiliary of Assistance League of Santa Barbara.
Even though schools are not yet open, children are still growing and need new clothes, school supplies, and help with keeping their teeth strong. The volunteers at Assistance League haven’t let COVID-19 stop their programs. And that’s something to smile about.
Along with its auxiliaries, Las Aletas and Assisteens, Assistance League of Santa Barbara’s 350 members volunteer over 50,000 hours a year to improve the lives of residents in our community. The Assistance League Thrift Shop, located at 1259 Veronica Springs Road, is the major source of funding for these programs.