Sunday, December 2, 2001

Dr. Jay Kanegawa, Hawaii Dental Service chairman of the board, was surrounded by heaping shopping carts. For the Foodbank donation, HDS purchased food from both Star Markets and Foodland.

Hawaii Dental Service
delivers on food pledge

The health service donates $100,000
worth of food to the Hawaii Foodbank

By Pat Gee

It wasn't anything like pulling teeth to get the Hawaii Dental Service to donate $100,000 worth of food to the Hawaii Foodbank, using a magnified picture of a "$100,000 Grand" candy bar to represent its gift.

The ease in getting the food from Star Markets and Foodland Supermarkets is what made HDS President Jon Won "feel so good" about giving the donation to the Foodbank, whose cupboards have been bordering on bare since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks blindsided the nation's economy.

It was like taking candy from a dental insurance company.

Even Foodbank President Dick Grimm, who attended the recent presentation of the "candy bar," agreed with Won, who said, "We needed a great amount of food, and bingo! There was the food. We didn't have to apply for any grants or jump through any hoops. ... Now people have hope; people will be able to feed themselves and their children."

The dental service purchased $50,000 worth of food from both supermarkets, requesting the lowest prices, for 50,875 pounds of food, including much needed protein items. In addition to selling the food at wholesale prices, the markets donated another 40,373 pounds of food, doubling the value of HDS' original purchase, Won said.

"Foodland and Star were really pleased to do this," he added.

HDS board members were very concerned about the impact of the terrorist attacks on "basic people needs -- food, shelter, clothing and medical needs," he said.

HDS's first contract when it was formed in 1962 were the "children of the stevedores -- I'll never forget that. Oral health impacts (everyone's) general health, especially for kids. We don't want them growing up with problems they'll have to deal with in the future," Won said.

Although using a candy bar would seem to nullify the promotion of good dental health, Won said their veiled message is, "you can eat candy as long as you brush and floss and have good oral care," he added.

HDS also gave $100,000 a piece to four other agencies, including the Institute for Human Services for the homeless; the Queen's Dental Clinic, targeting needy, fragile children; Catholic Social Ministries, which runs a mobile dental van on the neighbor islands, where the needs are greatest; and Aloha United Way organizations on all islands, Won said.

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