The Maine Dental Association recently partnered with nonprofit organization Maine Needs to assemble and distribute 200 cleaning and hygiene kits to four sites.

The MDA, though its donation campaign called Maine Needs a Smile, collected personal hygiene items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and shampoo, and basic cleaning supplies, like laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, and trash bags, to help Maine families in need.

The initiative was started by three MDA member dentists –- Dr. Meg Dombroski, Dr. Kathryn Horutz, and Dr. Nicole Kimmes –- along with MDA Executive Director Angela Westhoff. The group was familiar with the Maine Needs nonprofit organization, which strives to help individuals and families in Maine meet basic, material needs by providing donated clothing and essential products and household items, and which partners with schools, caseworkers, nurses and nonprofits throughout the state to provide those material resources.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of dentistry is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives every day. The Maine Needs A Smile community effort made it possible for dental professionals across Maine to join together to have a positive impact beyond our chairs,” Dr. Kimmes said.

One of the way Maine Needs provides for individuals and families is through different “kits” that the public can put together and donate.

The Maine Needs a Smile initiative originally had a goal of assembling 100 cleaning and hygiene kits. Because of the support of MDA member dentists, dental staff, and the general public, 200 kits were put together and were distributed between four sites. Kits were distributed at the Community Concepts Early Learning Center in Farmington, River Valley Free Store in Mexico, Kaydenz Kitchen Food Pantry in Lewiston and Penney Memorial United Baptist Church in Augusta.

Incorporated in 1867, the Maine Dental Association is a professional membership organization. The MDA works to support members in achieving excellence in dentistry and to be leaders in oral health in Maine. For more information about the MDA, go to www.medental.org.