Through United Way Nurse's Pantry, Benco Family Foundation provides dental supplies to PA students

The Benco Family Foundation, the charitable division of the nation’s largest independently owned dental distributor Benco Dental, collaborated this school year with the United Way of Wyoming Valley to support its Nurse’s Pantry Program in Northeast Pennsylvania. Nurses in the Wilkes-Barre and Pittston area school districts received oral health kits to help support students’ dental hygiene.

“The nurse’s pantry is a simple concept but it is immediately impactful. Children will miss less school and they will do better.”

Bill Jones, president and CEO of the United Way of Wyoming Valley discussing the Nurse’s Pantry Program in a 2018 The Citizens’ Voice report.

In 2018, the United Way of Wyoming Valley was named the winner of a $25,000 grant from the Luzerne Foundation’s Millennium Circle Fund to expand a nurse’s pantry into more area schools, according to a report in The Citizens’ Voice. At that time the pantry expanded from five elementary schools in the Wilkes-Barre to 13 elementary schools in four other school districts: Hanover Area, Nanticoke, Pittston Area and Wyoming Valley West.

In the same article, Jones shared a few heartbreaking instances that demonstrated the need for the nurse’s pantry.

“Last year, a young boy missed four days of school because he split his pants. It was the only pair of pants he owned. Another child and his sibling had a more serious issue: head lice …. The kids ( who missed 10 consecutive days of school) still had lice because the family could not afford the medicated shampoo the school nurse instructed them to get. Think about the lives of those children for those two weeks and all the schooling that was missed all over $18.” 

Bill Jones, president and CEO of the United Way of Wyoming Valley said in 2018 report in The Citizens’ Voice.

In 2019, the Benco Family Foundation donated 300 toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss to each of the five Wilkes-Barre elementary school nurse’s pantries and 300 kits to one elementary school in Pittston, according to Rebecca Binder, the Foundation’s Executive Director.

Supplies are given out at the nurses discretion to children and families in need of dental supplies. 

Altogether, the donation will benefit over 5,000 students, according to the United Way of Wyoming Valley.

A screenshot from the United Way’s annual Nurse’s Pantry campaign video shows the care that nurses provide young students. Local schools will have dental supplies for students who need them most, courtesy of Benco Dental and the United Way of Wyoming Valley.

“Access to dental items is important because poor dental hygiene in a child can lead to tooth decay, which can progress into other medical issues. If a young child is in pain due to a dental issue, it’s difficult for them to focus and learn in school, which can lead them to fall behind in class and becoming discouraged because they aren’t doing well.”

Kathy Bozinski, Director of Marketing and Communications at the United Way of Wyoming Valley

If not reminded about the importance of oral health, children can neglect healthy habits like brushing after every meal and flossing once per day. Donated kits provide an essential benefit to Luzerne County’s 34,679 low-income families whose children may not have consistent access to dental hygiene.

The donation aims to curb the effects of tooth decay, a disease that on a national level affects 20 percent of children aged 5 to 11 years old, and 13 percent of children aged 12 to 19 years of age, according to the Center for Disease Control.

“The items provided by Benco Dental to United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Nurse’s Pantry will have a great impact on the dental health of students and hopefully, keep them on track for learning success.”

Kathy Bozinski, Director of Marketing and Communications at the United Way of Wyoming Valley

Bozinski confirmed the Luzerne County schools that received oral health kit donations from the Benco Family Foundation:

Wilkes-Barre Area School District ⁠— Kistler Elementary; Dan Flood Elementary; Leo E. Solomon-Plains Elementary; Heights M.L. Murray Elementary.

Pittston Area School District ⁠— Martin F. Quinn Primary Center; Pittston Area Intermediate Center; Pittston Area Middle School.

The Benco Family Foundation, in partnership with the United Way of Wyoming Valley, is dedicated to improving the dental health and quality of life in its local communities, regionally, and around the world.

How is the Benco Family Foundation helping regionally?

Learn more about how the Benco Family Foundation supports changing lives with its Buy One, Give One Program here.

New Benco Dental COO brings Customer Operations ideas to life

Nation’s largest privately-owned dental distributor welcomes Chief Operations Officer An accomplished leader in pharmaceutical distribution on an international level shares his commitment to the customer-first philosophy as a new member of the senior leadership team at Benco Dental. Tom Hart joined the nation’s largest privately-owned dental distributor earlier this year as Chief Operations Officer, and […]

Christmas in July Pie-the-Manager Fundraiser delivers sweet results at Benco Dental

The Operations team at the home office of the nation’s largest privately owned dental distributor added an extra dollop of friendly competition (yes, that’s a whipped cream reference) to fundraising efforts for United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Christmas in July: a Pie-the-Manager contest.

SWEET RESULTS for United Way of Wyoming Valley: $1095 raised in three days by Benco’s Operations Team!

WINNERS (if you consider pie in the face a prize) were Tony Smigelski, Inventory Control Manager and Lisa Fuller, Contact Center Director at Benco Dental, who rallied the most donations.

Where it all began…

Benco Community Boosters launched a contest July 11 at the home office in Northeast Pennsylvania to collect the most pounds of food and highest amount of monetary donations per each departmental team.

The worthy cause: Food is donated to the CEO Weinberg Food Bank and cash donations support the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides free books to children in the Wyoming Valley.

PieManager

Who upped the ante?

To win the company-wide contest, the Operations team sweetened the incentive.

Operations VP Tom Hart (shown above) says, “I think it was Lisa Fuller’s (shown above) idea to motivate people to give as much money as possible for people in need.”

Next, 12 managers volunteered (Tom Hart, Beth Hastie, Lisa Fuller, Rob Foote, Ann Marie Lawson, Denise Nagle, Tony Smigelski, Bob Hunt, Linda Viti, Christine Lapinski, Kathy Mislitski, and Heather Conrad) and associates purchased raffles for pie-throwing rights.

Sweet results: Associates donated spare change in mason jars to vote, and the managers with the highest and heaviest amounts in their jars earned a pie to the face!

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Just desserts: Michelle Lees and Erika Yedinak won pie-throwing rights after purchasing raffles.

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Secret strategies?

“My strategy is to surprise Lisa with real pies,” joked Tony Smigelski. The Mountain Top resident who noted banana cream as his favorite pie, referred to the fact that the two had agreed on pie tins filled with whipped cream for the contest.

As the festivities got underway this afternoon and Lisa Fuller awaited her whipped cream pie in the face, Smigelski walked to his truck parked nearby and returned with  freshly-baked banana cream and coconut pies.

Though surprised by the switch up, Fuller, a veteran volunteer, was ready for anything.

“I’ve been in a dunk tank before. Dunking is definitely worse,” said the Shavertown resident.

After the pie smashing, she added, “I would have to say coconut cream is my favorite.”

They two received yet another surprise: their teams presented them each with a pie for the road.

UP NEXT: Watch for company-wide contest results and donation totals.

 

To view more images of the day: https://www.facebook.com/pg/bencodental/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155455031431536

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day of Caring makes difference to 56 charitable organizations.

For more than 20 years, the United Way of Wyoming Valley has sponsored an annual Day of Caring. Annually, hundreds of representatives of business, industry, education and healthcare come together as volunteers, roll up their sleeves, and set to work helping nonprofit and charitable organizations throughout the Wyoming Valley area of Northeastern Pennsylvania with projects that […]