Arnold girl, 10, surpasses goal of donating 1,000 dental products
by Kelcie Pegher, firstname.lastname@example.org
After feeding the homeless on Christmas Eve last year, Brooke Hodges of Arnold was inspired to provide proper dental care products to those in need. Her goal was 1,000 products - anything from floss to toothpaste to toothbrushes. She had two weeks to get it done. As of Monday, she had collected 1,250 items.
During a recent field trip to Baltimore, 10-year-old Brooke Hodges saw a homeless man, and wished she could get off the bus and just give him a hug.
On another day, Brooke saw an elderly woman eating at the Annapolis Olive Garden alone, and used $20 from her pocket to pay for the woman's bill, and included a note wishing her a Merry Christmas.
"If she could save the world, she would," said her mom, Antoinette Hodges.
After feeding the homeless on Christmas Eve last year, Brooke was inspired to provide proper dental care products to those in need. Her goal was 1,000 products — anything from floss to toothpaste to toothbrushes. She had two weeks to get it done.
As of Monday, she had collected 1,250 items.
"I really care about people," said Brooke, a student at Belvedere Elementary in Arnold.
She volunteered with her aunt, Amy Santini, at Giving Back, Linda's Legacy, a local nonprofit to help the homeless. Volunteers hand out backpacks filled with clothes and goods to the homeless. After watching children eat cookies and candy canes, Brooke asked her aunt whether the children would remember to brush their teeth.
Brooke is making packages with toothpaste and toothbrushes for the backpacks and to hand out today. Included is a hand drawing of an angel, and the slogan "Your smile makes God smile!"
She thought of the slogan herself. Each person, regardless of how fortunate they are, is a child of God, she said. She's active at Centerpoint Church, a non-denominational Christian church.
Brooke began finding volunteers for products two weeks ago. The family added a large plastic container on their front door so people can deliver dental products even if she's not home. Her mother used social media to garner support. And friends of friends showed up in droves.
One of Brooke's friends was at a check-up at Drs. Tull, Behling and Decere in Arnold when she mentioned the endeavor. Antoinette dropped off a flier a few days later.
"It just sounded like such an amazing thing for such a young girl to have a heart for people less fortunate, and to really be thinking of their health overall, besides just feeding them physically," said Michelle Tate, a dental assistant at the office.
They donated 144 toothbrushes and 100 tubes of toothpaste.
"It was like watching a child on Christmas morning just to see her get so excited about something she's going to give to someone else," Tate said.
Several dental offices donated products.
Antoinette opted to use the money she would use for Christmas cards for dental products instead. Brooke has also received packages from Michigan and Ohio.
"Here we are thinking packages are coming in from Amazon and it's toothpaste and toothbrushes," Antoinette said.
Brooke does have one toy she'd really, really, like for Christmas:
A Wii video game, Disney Infinity 2.0.
Or an end to homelessness.