On Friday, August 4, 2017, members of the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) DMD Class of 2021 and DMD Advanced Standing AS Class of 2019 participated in the annual Orientation Day of Service, where they volunteered with Cradles to Crayons. The group spent the day at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, aiding in their 11th annual Ready for School Backpack-a-thon.
Prior to the actual event, a donation drive was held at GSDM, led by Ms. Kathy Lituri, Oral Health Promotion Director in the Department of Health Policy & Health Services Research. A variety of school supplies, art supplies, and personal hygiene products were donated by the GSDM community. Furthermore, the GSDM chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) donated children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste.
The GSDM cohort was part of the 1,100 volunteers who filled over 40,000 backpacks in under four hours. Backpacks are filled assembly-line style with all the new school supplies a child needs to be ready to learn.
The volunteers were able to serve in a variety of roles – backpack stuffers, speedy suppliers, green machines, hauling heroes, and devoted distributors. In an effort to add some fun to the work effort, the Cradles to Crayons group handed out awards to teams of volunteers for various accomplishments. The awards this year were: Rookie of the Year; Old School Award; Families Helping Families; Dressed for Success; Backpack Boogie Award; and the MVP (Most Valuable Pencil).
Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. They supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have, with communities that need. More than 305,000 Massachusetts children, 12 years old and younger, live in low-income or poverty-stricken households. In any given year, more than 100,000 of them will experience homelessness.