If you follow Mortenson Family Dental on Facebook or keep up with our blog, you already know that we love giving back to the communities we serve. In addition to the Mortenson Charitable Foundation, we love organizing events and promotions for good causes. One of our favorites is our Swap Your Sweets promotion, which collects candy for Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to troops abroad.
This last week, one of our team leaders sent out a heartwarming story about the 4th grade class at DePaul Elementary school — who not only overcame a school fire to swap their sweets, but pooled their resources to help Louisville’s homeless population and teach us all a lesson in compassion, kindness and the spirit of the holiday season. Her story is reprinted below, with names removed to preserve their privacy.
One of our young patients is a student at DePaul Elementary School around the corner from the Highlands office. She found out about our Swap Your Sweets program and told her teachers and class about it. It turns out that this 4th grade team selected a project this year to “Help Those Who Protect Us.” Our program fit right in. The entire class brought in and bagged their candy. They even recruited other kids in the school to do the same and parents brought in brand new bags of candy to share with the troops. I had organized with their teacher to come in and speak to the class with the assistance of one of our EDDAs who was graciously willing to play the part of “tooth fairy.”
The day before we were supposed to come in, the teacher called and said there was a fire at the school and we would have to postpone. Everyone was safe. The school was fine. But the candy did not survive and the kids were staying home from school for a couple days while classrooms were repaired.
Upon the kids’ return to school, they scurried to gather more candy. They really wanted to participate in our program. Parents and students of the school rallied and came up with another bounty of candy and homemade cards for our troops. We went to their classroom yesterday to deliver the gift cards and some dental goodies, talk to them about service in the community and, of course, dental health. It was simply delightful. The kids were confident, inquisitive and completely aware of how our project brings a smile to “Those Who Protect Us.” It doesn’t stop there. They have plans to take lunch to the fire fighters who helped save their school. AND they are gathering items for the homeless. During our presentation, it came up that they could combine their $5 gift cards from the Swap Your Sweets program and purchase items for the shelter. I was almost moved to tears.
One of our young patients brought us and her elementary school together and we were able to give them small means to contribute to a local shelter (don’t forget that lunch for the firefighters, too!). If this isn’t an example of community coming together to take care of each other, I don’t know what is.
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves. Thank you, DePaul Elementary school students, for helping us all remember what it means to serve the community. We are so proud of you, and thankful for the kindness you showed.