Sewing for Healthy Teeth

May 1st

I am hosting a women’s guild meeting tomorrow night at my home. I have been a member of this volunteer group for several years. About a dozen women work to fundraise and gather supplies for various health projects to benefit the poor.
I spent a bit of time this weekend thinking about what I’ll serve and what I should provide for the meeting. We are going to encourage the guild members to gather dental supplies this summer, which I will distribute to children attending one of the poorer school districts in Phoenix. The supplies are matched with an oral health curriculum that teaches children how to brush their teeth and why it is important. This public health issue seems so silly, and it is often overlooked by funders. However, we all know how terribly you feel with a toothache, and how dental insurance is quickly become a luxury of the upper class.
(You wouldn’t believe how many children tell me they’ve never had their own toothbrush when I’m teaching this curriculum. It is heartbreaking and makes me want to go out and hunt down their parents. Instead, we have adult health classes too.)
Without proper oral health from an early age (Moms — No Kool Aid in those baby bottles, please!) kids are set up for a lifetime of health issues.
I enjoy teaching this curriculum and distributing the toothbrushes and toothpaste. They are such fundamental public health tools that most of us use everyday without thought. And yet, one day without them and we are a slimy mess.
I had the idea to distribute a tote bag to each of the members to encourage them to pick up dental supplies during the summer. I thought if they kept these bags in their cars, it would be a regular reminder to keep our guild’s work in mind. I headed out to one of our local craft stores only to find the very basic canvas tote was $5.99 each. With 10 women attending, I knew this wasn’t an option. Thankfully, I’d clipped a 40% off coupon from the paper earlier in the week and was able to purchase 4 yards of heavy duck cloth for $12.
I paired this with some African fabric, grosgrain ribbon and spent about two hours making my vision come to light.
Voila — le African tote bag:

Mali tote bag

I used some fabric Robin sent me from Mali. I’ve been putting it to great use!

African tote bags in the shadows

I hope these babies are returned to me brimming with Colgate, Crest and Mentadent by the end of the summer.


Posted in
Domestic Art, Public Health
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7 Responses

  1. Nice bags..great colors too.

  2. Kelli-
    These bags are terrific! What a great idea!

  3. What a fabulous idea! I’ll try and help out, too.

  4. Those are fabulous & what a wonderful idea. šŸ™‚

  5. That is such a great thing to do. You’re right, it’s something that we don’t think about… afterall, everyone brushes their teeth!

    The bags are adorable. You could totally sell them, I know I would want one. šŸ™‚ I hope that they get all filled up!

  6. You have such great ideas!! Such a wonderful thing to do & your bags are beautiful šŸ™‚

  7. You are such a generous and creative soul, Donk — what an excellent idea to give people bags with which to collect their donations. And what beautiful bags! Do you need out of state participants for this fundraiser? I bet Finny would help – and I wouldn’t even need a special bag! Let me know what supplies you’re running low on. šŸ™‚