KinderSmile makes a difference.
The KinderSmile Foundation, a Montclair based, non-profit organization which provides free dental services to low-income children in New Jersey, is teaming up with Mr. Dino’s Pizzeria to raise funds for Kindersmile’s 2014 Dental Mission to Nicaragua and Peru. Starting March 11, Mr. Dino’s will be donating 15 percent of their sales to the foundation, making this trip possible.
Montclair dentist, Dr. Nicole McGrath, started KinderSmile in 2007 with the sole intent to provide dental care to uninsured children. Ever year, the foundation travels to other countries, helping children there.
“The first outreach trip was to Spalding, Jamaica,” said McGrath. “It was great. We adopted a school, Mount Olivet Primary School. Fellow board member, Doctor Pooja Khurana, some junior board members and I provided free dental services to 117 children.”
In addition, McGrath and the other trip members also established toothbrush stations in the school and provided the children with toothpaste and toothbrushes. Many of the children couldn’t afford toothbrushes and in many cases were sharing a single toothbrush with multiple family members.
Since then, KinderSmile has traveled to Trinidad, Tobago, Guatemala and Haiti. The number of junior board members has also grown in size, expanding to 31 dedicated volunteers.
This year, the trip will be to Nicaragua and Peru. McGrath gave the fundraising responsibility of the trip to her junior board members: a group of high school and college students who are extremely passionate about KinderSmile’s cause. The Mr. Dino’s fundraiser was organized with the help of Amaya Dunn, who has been a junior board member since this past fall.
“I joined KinderSmile because I think what they do is really great,” said Dunn. “I liked that I would get to help children that cannot afford a service that I get with ease because of my parent’s insurance.”
Dunn got the idea for the fundraiser with Mr. Dino’s when she and other junior board members were asked to brainstorm fundraising ideas that incorporated local businesses. When Dunn was asked which business she thought was best, she immediately thought of Mr. Dino’s.
“Mr. Dino’s was always one of my favorite pizza places to go after my soccer games,” said Dunn.
Dunn and her fellow junior board members are hoping to collectively raise $50,000 for the program. The money raised will cover the travel and the dental services KinderSmile will be providing to the children in Nicaragua and Peru. Some of the money will additionally be allocated to buying school supplies for the children.
“When we arrive we’re going to be setting up dental stations where the dental care will be provided,” said Dunn. “We’re going to be giving out goodie bags with dental supplies and fun stuff like coloring books. In addition, we’re also digging into our closets and donating our gently used clothing.”
Dunn is also setting up a donation page on KinderSmile’s website so people can directly donate to the cause. The donation page is extremely user friendly. Dunn set it up through GoFundMe.com. Donors can donate a flat amount or pledge a monthly donation. Dunn believes it will really be an asset to their fundraising attempts.
“So far I’ve had the page up for about a week and have raised 20 percent of my goal. I still have a ways to go, but I’m feeling optimistic!” said Dunn.
Donations to KinderSmile can be made through Dunn’s donation page, or you can swing by Mr. Dinos at 119 Watchung Avenue, and grab a slice or two to support the cause. Every donation helps and thanks to KinderSmile, this summer 750 kids in Nicaragua and Peru will receive the proper dental care they haven’t had access to.