Nutritious foods are essential to maintaining strong teeth and a healthy smile. So, Delta Dental of Wisconsin is donating nutritious food and toothbrushes to 5 food pantries throughout the state on June 15.
“People often fail to realize the impact of food choices on oral health, but proper nutrition plays an essential role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease,” said Fred Eichmiller, DDS, vice president and science officer at Delta Dental of Wisconsin.
“To maintain a healthy smile, it’s important to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, as well as dairy foods including cheese and yogurt. These foods are full of important vitamins, such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin K, that help strengthen and protect teeth,” Eichmiller said.
Nutritious, perishable food often is more expensive than processed, unhealthy alternatives. That’s why Delta Dental of Wisconsin is providing donations to food pantries with the goal of making healthy food, and therefore oral health, attainable for Wisconsin residents of all income levels, according to the company.
The donations to each pantry will consist of $1,000 of nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy items, in addition to more than 500 toothbrushes. Delta Dental of Wisconsin also will provide a $2,000 grant to each pantry to purchase produce in the upcoming months.
Recipients will include the Salvation Army Food Pantry in Milwaukee, which provides a 2- to 3-day supply of emergency food to neighborhood individuals and families who are hungry. The food is given the day it is requested and represents breakfast, lunch, and dinner for all members of the household. It serves an average of 15,000 people each year.
The Allied Food Pantry in Madison serves 35 to 40 families each week, with 6,500 people each year, providing each household with a 2-week supply of meat, margarine, eggs, and other food. The number of households it serves has increased by 227% since 2001. About half of those households include someone who is unemployed.
The Wafer Food Pantry in La Crosse, another recipient, serves about 1,500 families including 4,000 people each month, with 43,000 individuals and about 1.2 million meals served in 2015. It distributes about 18,000 food packages each year, which provides each person in a family about 4 to 5 days worth of food.
The Neighbors’ Place Food Bank and Food Pantry in Wausau serves about 945 families each week. As the largest food bank in Marathon County, it has the capacity to store and distribute food to more than 20 pantries throughout the county. Its walk-in refrigerator and freezer enable it to store perishable food as well.
And, recipient Paul’s Pantry in Green Bay handles nearly 20,000 pounds of food each day. It distributes more than 30 different perishable fruits and vegetables, usually 5 types of dairy products, fresh and frozen meats, and various baked goods. Also, it rescues more than 5 million pounds of food from the marketplace each year.