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  • Rev. Caroline

Tigers in Church!


Valentines Day dawned and just before lunch it was time to put out tables in the main hall at Meadowside St Paul’s with all the toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste which had been donated by members, plus those given by their counterparts at St Andrew’s.



I had thought I would count them, but when I saw the staggeringly high numbers being poured out of carrier bags, I began to have second thoughts! At a rough estimate, I’d say there were easily 500 items in total.



As we had requested, there were toothbrushes and toothpaste to suit every young age, from babies to twelve year olds. (I had no idea that these things now come with ages on the labels, nor that flavours such as “strawberry ice cream” or “bubble gum” would contain enough fluoride to satisfy our visitors from Childsmile – see more at http://www.child-smile.org.uk/


We also had plenty of different brushes and pastes to cater for adults.


The response from the two congregations was incredibly generous, all the more remarkable since this whole initiative was carried through from initial discussion at the School of Dentistry to actual event in Meadowside St Paul’s in 10 days.


The Toothy Tigers, students from the Dental School, were in attendance at both sessions. It was a great opportunity to get to know these really impressive young women, who are part of this project (to improve oral health in children) on a voluntary basis. We hope this will be the start of a lasting partnership…


Though we were not visited by any individuals, we did give out donations to the Salvation Army (enough for each of their 25 residents), Dundee City Council Housing Support Team and MIA (Multi-agency Independent Advocacy); for more on the MIA, see http://www.dundeewomensaid.co.uk/mia.php


This was great as we know that these various “agencies” will make sure that the toothbrushes and paste will go to people who need them. These personal visits also enabled valuable contacts to be made, which may be useful in the future (for who knows where the future of our Valentines Smiles initiative will lead?). In my last post, I talked about the importance of the churches going out to meet in other venues. The same thing could be said about the importance of church members meeting people from other organisations who have a care, as Jesus does, for the poorest folk in our community.


At the end of the lunchtime session we were joined by Professor Peter Mossey, without whom this initiative wouldn’t have got off the ground, and also Jonathan Watson from Dundee University Media Relations. Mobile phones were whipped out to take photos a this point!


The Courier reporter, Jake Keith, who wrote the story highlighting the fact that some children in Dundee don’t have their own toothbrush, also came along and interviewed us for an article (which is in today’s edition (15/2/19)).


We do have a good number of toothbrushes and toothpaste left but these will soon be dispersed. The Toothy Tigers will have first call on them; the remainder will be divided among various local charities who work with those who need a helping hand.



If you are one of the people who helped to make Valentines Smiles happen, then thank you very much indeed for making my “mad idea” an actual event!

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