MLK Day of Service ‘Exceeds Expectations’

Students, faculty, staff and community join together to deliver 1,000 oral hygiene kits
students unload supplies to assemble the dentistry kits

Dental student Chanelle Roberts knew she wanted the inaugural UMKC School of Dentistry MLK Day of Service to be big.

“All of this definitely exceeded my expectations,” said Roberts, as she motioned to the crowd of nearly 100 volunteers assembling 1,000 oral hygiene kits at the school.

She and about 20 other students were joined by the school’s staff and faculty, including Dean Marsha Pyle and internationally recognized researcher Sarah Dallas, as well as members of St. James United Methodist Church.

The kits of toothbrushes and toothpaste, donated by Colgate-Palmolive, GlaxoSmithKline and Procter & Gamble, were delivered to children and adults at St. James, the Ronald McDonald House, City Union Mission, reStart, American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, Hope Faith Ministries, Jackson County Family Court and the Kangaroo Pantry at UMKC. 

“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Roberts is part of the School of Dentistry diversity task force, which was looking for a way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and demonstrate its core value of compassion, taking a genuine interest in the needs of those we serve in order to help them live healthy and productive lives through the services we deliver.

“Since we are not able to provide dental care on this day due to the holiday, we decided to provide hygiene kits to stress the importance of oral health and make the community aware of the role the UMKC School of Dentistry plays in improving oral health in Kansas City and the states of Missouri and Kansas,” said Jeff Primos, director of business administration at the School of Dentistry. “Health and wellness is important for everyone, and the mouth is the gateway to overall health.”

Because of all of the helping hands, the task of assembling such a large number of oral hygiene kits was finished more than hour ahead of schedule.

“This feels really good,” Roberts said.

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Published: Jan 22, 2019

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