Children in Appalachia face among the highest rates of dental caries in the country, primarily due to a high intake of sugary foods and soft drinks – as well as a lack of dental care products at home.
At Americans Helping Americans® we have been working to address this serious health issue by providing thousands of dental kits containing child and adult size toothbrushes, a six-month supply of toothpaste and floss each year.
This year we distributed 2,450 dental kits to children in needy families through our Appalachian partners who arrange for dental health professionals to come to community centers and schools to demonstrate proper dental hygiene methods and practices to ensure how to use their new “Mighty Molar kits” at home.
In McDowell County, West Virginia, our partner Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA) received 500 dental kits this year. , There are very few jobs available in McDowell County, so most families are on public assistance, Social Security, or unemployment. Says BCPIA co-executive director Dyanne Spriggs “When families struggle to pay their normal monthly bills, they don’t have the money left to buy their children even a toothbrush and toothpaste. Many of their needs – such as dental hygiene items – would be unmet it we didn’t partner with Americans Helping Americans® which is dedicated to helping those in need.
And as we are able to purchase the kits in large quantities directly from wholesalers, the cost is just $6.25 each, approximately one-third the fair market value that one would pay at a big box store.
Our health services support also extends to rural White County, Georgia, where there is just one primary care physician for nearly 4,130 residents – nearly 10 times the national average of 435 individuals per physician. In the county, it is hard for the uninsured to get the health care they need, particularly for those with chronic, and potentially life-threatening, diseases and medical conditions requiring regular treatment including diabetes and hypertension.
Thanks to our supporters, we have provided $15,000 in grant funding this year alone for medical services to our partner, Community Helping Hands Clinic, which this year has served approximately 249 individuals.
Clinic director Gene White, told us that the grant funding from Americans Helping Americans® is needed more than ever as the demand for medical services for uninsured county residents has only continued to rise in the past few years.
“There is no other facility providing free healthcare for the indigent uninsured,” he noted. “In addition, White County has no local hospital, so emergency room treatment (inadequate and wasteful as that is) is only available by traveling to neighboring counties.
“The demand for medical services for the uninsured county residents has been increasing. We are grateful for the continuing support of Americans Helping Americans®. It is making a major impact on the health of low-income residents of our county.”