Earlier this year, the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills (JLOSH) launched a new community service program called the BackPack Bonus Bag Program. As part of a new initiative to impact the Health & Wellness for School Children in Need, this program targets some of the neediest school children in Orange and East Orange and provides them with “wellnessentials” that many of us take for granted. In January, JLOSH kicked off this new program by supplying much-needed winter mittens, hats and other school supplies to over 700 students in Orange and East Orange.

In February, to honor National Children’s Dental Health Month, several local dentists showed their generous support for JLOSH and the new Bonus Bag Program by donating hundreds of toothbrushes, toothpastes and dental stickers to help school children in need. Among the local donors were: Advanced Dental Associates of South Orange; Mitchell J. Bayroff, DDS, PA; Stephen T. Busby, DDS; Fariba Farrokhi, DMD; Deborah Flynn-Nyktas, DMD; Gregory Freed, DDS, FAGD; Michele Konrad; Denise Pordy; Richard Schonberg, DMD, FAGD; and Rupali Wadhwa, DBS, DMD, MS, Cert.Ortho. The DenTek Corporation also made a large contribution of more than 750 dental floss sticks for the program.

“Thanks to the help of local dentists and other donors, we were able to distribute thousands of dental necessities to more than 530 school children in Orange and East Orange,” said JLOSH President Kat Eklund. “We have been so impressed with everyone’s generosity. To be able to help school children who are just a few miles away is very rewarding for everyone involved in this program.”

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In addition to the dental supplies donated from the local dental community, JLOSH also received support from Girl Scout Daisy Troop 22914 in Short Hills. The Daisy Troop participated in a “chore challenge” where the first grade girls did extra chores around the house to help raise funds in order to purchase dental supplies for students in the Bonus Bag Program. Then, at their February meeting, the first graders learned about the importance of volunteering by reading and discussing The Littlest Volunteers and then assembling 100 Bonus Bags as a community service exercise.

“Being involved with the Bonus Bags was a great way to teach our kids how they can help other kids in the community,” said Troop Leader and JLOSH Sustaining Member Jane Carano. “They learned a little about fundraising and what it means to raise money to help others. It was a valuable lesson for all of us.”

In addition to toothbrushes, toothpastes and floss sticks, the dental Bonus Bags also contained pencils and fun stickers.

Every year, JLOSH members work together to tackle critical needs of women and children in our area. JLOSH provides service to the communities of East Orange, Orange, South Orange, West Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Short Hills and Springfield. Founded in 1913, JLOSH reaches out to women of all races, religions, and national origins. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. For more information on the BackPack Bonus Bag Program, or to find out how to contribute or participate in the upcoming months, please contact Kim Walls at 973-379-9655 or jlosh1913@gmail.com. To learn more about JLOSH, visit our website at www.jlosh.org or find us on Facebook.