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Healthy living: Golden way to assist Auburn Food Bank
An Auburn dental office has come up with a way to assist the Auburn Food Bank year-round with an innovative program, Gold for Groceries.
Like many local businesses, Dr. Stuart Rich and the Simply Smiles team often have put a food collection barrel in their reception area or adopted a needy family during the Christmas holiday.
At an office staff meeting, someone suggested that they ask their patients who were having an old, failing crown replaced if they would be interested in donating it to the food bank. While an individual crown doesn’t have a lot of precious metal scrap value, they do add up, since the typical dental office replaces several every week. Each person donating a crown was entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card. The first batch of donated crowns was sent in to the refiner, which generated a check to the Auburn Food Bank for more than $600.
“In most dental offices, the old crown is left for the office to dispose of as they see fit, or ends up forgotten in an old prescription bottle in the patient’s desk drawer," Dr Rich said. "There is a vague idea that it’s worth something, but most people don’t want to bother with it."
Most of Dr. Rich's patients were happy to find out what it could be used to help the community.
“Of course, some patients request to keep their old crown, which is just fine. However, we have had such a great response from most of our patients so far, that I suspect we will be able to send the food bank a healthy check each quarter from the donated proceeds of the program," Dr. Rich added, "It’s fun for our team, our patients like it and the food bank loves it. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
Already, local oral surgeons Dr. David Molen and Dr. Robert Woo have offered to begin asking their patients if they would like to participate in the program. In addition, one of Dr. Rich’s patients, Linda Brooks, made two baby quilts to be used in another drawing to generate additional funds for the food bank.
The Auburn Food Bank is able to provide almost $5 dollars worth of food for every $1 in donations it receives.
“It’s a little like the 'Loaves and Fishes' story in the Bible. Your small gift can be multiplied to feed far more people than you would imagine,” Dr. Rich said.
As a result, he and his team have decided to offer the Gold for Groceries drawing as an ongoing quarterly program. Anyone interested in participating in the drawing may contact his office at 253-939-6900 or stop by during business hours, Monday through Thursday, at 1348 8th St. NE, Auburn.