News Archive, 2012

Students Spread Holiday Joy

Students at the LSUHSC School of Dentistry (LSUSD) engage in oral health-related community outreach activities throughout the year. During every holiday season, their priority is to collect toys and food to bring holiday joy to those who are less fortunate. This year two initiatives were undertaken by the first- and second-year dental classes.

Class of 2015
Second-year dental student Benjamin White is coordinating a fundraiser to benefit children through Operation Christmas Child. During the week before Thanksgiving, shoe boxes filled with gifts were collected for distribution to needy children all around the world. Since the program's inception in 1993, Samaritan's Purse, the parent organization, will have delivered nearly 100 million shoe box gifts. Small toys, school supplies, hygiene items, socks, and hard candy are among the recommended gift items. The international relief organization suggests an additional donation of $7.00 to cover shipping costs. The dental school also provided toothbrushes and toothpaste to go into each box. "We wanted a project that would allow each of our class members to bring the joy of Christmas to needy children," said Ben. "Operation Christmas Child was a perfect fit."

This is the second year that the Class of 2015 has collected shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Last year they sent 58 boxes plus an additional $400 donation. The class also participates in Give Kids A Smile Day. This past February, all 65 students in the class presented oral health information, toothbrushes, and toothpaste to students at the Joseph A. Craig Elementary School, located in Treme. For a third project, they sent a $120 gift, matched by Hasbro, to Operation Smile, which provides free surgery around the world to children with cleft lip, cleft palate, or other facial deformities.

Dental students Jenny Herman and Benjamin White with donated items

Class of 2016
Jenny Herman, first-year dental student, launched a food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank. Whitney Walker, class president, and other D1 students, are also assisting with the effort. Boxes for the collection of non-perishable food items are available throughout the school until December 19. Located in Jefferson Parish, Second Harvest Food Bank was founded in 1982. Today the organization distributes more than 22 million meals through a network of 240 non-profit member agencies and provides emergency food assistance to more than 263,000 people, including nearly 82,000 children and 40,000 seniors.

"If between now and Christmas, everyone buys a few cans during every trip to the grocery store, we can help an incredible number of people," said Jenny. In fact, after just one week, she delivered 134 pounds of food to Second Harvest. Jenny said that she wanted a project in which the entire school could participate and that would have a significant impact on families. The Class of 2016 is also planning a day of service after the holidays with Habitat for Humanity and considering future community projects.

Through the efforts of our students, everyone at LSUSD has the opportunity to brighten the holidays for a less-privileged child, individual, or family.

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Last Update 11/2012