Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) is partnering with Save the Children to provide oral health and hygiene products to respite shelters serving migrant children and families.
Hosting new arrivals entering the United States with documentation via border towns in California and Texas, the shelters will receive more than 25,000 units of toothpaste, toothbrushes, and soap from Colgate as well as oral health educational materials via a product donation to Save the Children.
Hundreds of migrants from Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras arrive weekly and sometimes daily at respite centers in such cities as San Diego, Mecca and Bell, San Antonio, Brownsville, El Paso, and Laredo.
“These children and families are fleeing unimaginable violence and disasters at home,” said Betsy Zorio, Save the Children’s vice president of US programs. “They are arriving exhausted and distressed, often with only the clothes they are wearing, to seek legal asylum.”
As temporary refuges, the respite shelters provide a place to sleep and bathe, clean clothing, oral health products, toiletries, and diapers. With assistance from Save the Children and other partners, they also provide safe care and activities for children.
“The adults are overwhelmed by trying to keep their children safe, navigate the immigration process, and connect with family members here in the US,” said Zorio.
“To best support these children, Save the Children assists shelter partners with critical supplies to set up play areas so children have a place to be a kid and engage in age-appropriate activities. We also provide training so shelter staff can support children’s social and emotional needs,” said Zorio.
“As a global children’s health initiative, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures has an important role to play in helping to prevent disease and protect the health and well-being of vulnerable children and their families,” said Dr. Gillian Barclay, vice president, global public health and scientific affairs, Colgate-Palmolive Company.
“Last year in North America, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures donated more than 3 million units of oral care products and delivered oral health education to more than 27 million children and families,” Barclay said.
“By partnering with Save the Children, a leading humanitarian organization and authority on child health and education, we can positively impact the lives and health of vulnerable children now and in the future. Together, we are promoting lifelong learning opportunities and the promotion of well-bring for all,” said Barclay.
As a company, Colgate has supported Save the Children since 1999. It began its global partnership with the organization in 2016, working together to increase access to oral healthcare for children in need in the US, Africa, and Latin America.
In addition to supporting the organization’s emergency response efforts at the US-Mexico border, this year Colgate is supporting Save the Children with programmatic funding for its US-based Head Start, Healthy Choices, and rural education programs, as well as infant toothbrushes for its home visitation program, Early Steps to School Success, which offers home visits for families beginning with a mother’s pregnancy until a child reaches age 3.
“For 30 years, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures has supported and partnered with organizations that mobilize communities to improve health,” said Barclay. “Together with Save the Children, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures engages, educates, and empowers children and their families to embrace a healthy future we can all smile about.”
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