HOWARD — Horizon Health Care’s Horizon Health Foundation is gearing up to celebrate Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, and to raise $20,000 from 400 individual, business, and corporate partners to help 80 children ages 0-5 receive a free dental screening.
Cavities are one of the most common diseases of children in the US. Over 40% of children have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten. About 20.5% of children ages 2-5 have untreated decay, and 50% of children ages 2-5 have never seen a dentist.
In 2018, Horizon piloted a children’s oral health campaign, “Smiles for Miles”, that focused on bringing children ages 0-5 into the dental clinic for a free preventative exam and cleaning. The campaign has now been established as an annual program that is held during October each year. During October 2020, Horizon saw 141 patients ages 0-5. 51% of those patients were new patients and 26% of the children seen had decay identified during the exam. “Since the program’s conception, we have been able to provide 582 children with a free preventative exam and cleaning,” said Michelle Scholtz, Chief Dental Officer. “Early dental visits are crucial to a child’s wellbeing. The sooner children begin getting regular dental checkups, the healthier their mouths will stay throughout their lives.”
To meet the need of children across South Dakota and ensure they have access to dental care, the Horizon Health Foundation is raising money to support and grow “Smiles for Miles” by participating in South Dakota Gives’ third annual Giving Tuesday #ForSouthDakota campaign.
Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s Giving Tuesday #ForSouthDakota will take place on Tuesday, December 1st and will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to collaborate and give back. Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. For the third year, #ForSouthDakota is uniting South Dakotans to celebrate generosity in their state. The Horizon Health Foundation invites individuals to create “Smiles for Miles” by joining the Golden Ticket Club (sponsor a child – gifts of $250+/or $20.83 per month), or Golden Toothbrush Club (gifts of $8 or more).
All gifts made now through Giving Tuesday will be matched dollar for dollar up to $8,000 because of two generous investors. Delta Dental of South Dakota will be matching every gift up to $3,000 and an anonymous donor invested an additional $5,000 in matching gift funds. “We are grateful for the generosity and partnership of Delta Dental again this year, as well as our new anonymous matching gift sponsor,” said Brianna Feldhaus, Fundraising Officer of Horizon Health Foundation. “These matching gifts are a great opportunity to have your gift make double the impact when investing in our Smiles for Miles program.”
Delta Dental is a nonprofit oral health company working to improve the oral health of all South Dakotans. In addition to dental benefit plans, Delta Dental of South Dakota provides dental care and oral health education to kids across the state. Delta Dental of South Dakota and Horizon Health Care share a common mission of providing quality care for thousands of South Dakotans, especially in rural and frontier areas. “We know how important it is that young kids see a dentist,” said Scott Jones, CEO of Delta Dental of South Dakota. “We also know it’s not always easy, especially in rural areas. This is a great way for us to support a mission we share for better oral health for kids in South Dakota.”
Horizon Health Foundation also invites you to follow Tina Tooth on her “golden ticket adventures” to Horizon’s dental “factories” on their Facebook page to learn more about the children’s dental care provided and the Smiles for Miles program. A new episode will be released every Tuesday leading up to Dec. 1. Mark your calendars for Giving “Toothsday” on December 1, 2020 to support Horizon Health Foundation’s goal of helping 80 children (ages 0-5) receive dental care.
To donate or learn more on South Dakota Day of Giving, visit the Horizon Health Foundation webpage https://horizonhealthfoundation.com/smiles, Facebook page (Horizon Health Foundation), or call at 605-772-4553. If you already have plans for Dec. 1, the Foundation can schedule gifts in advance of the South Dakota Day of Giving by phone or through the website.