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Turlock teen organizes donation drive to help community smile
dental drive
Turlock resident Manveer Parmar and Ceres native Jennifer Torres are asking to community to donate oral hygiene supplies as part of their latest donation drive (Photo contributed).

After successfully organizing a canned food drive in the face of a global pandemic last year, Turlock teen Manveer Parmar has now turned his focus to helping the community meet its dental needs. 

Last summer, Parmar organized the U-CAN! Food Drive and collected over 1,000 non-perishable food items to donate to the United Samaritans Foundation in Turlock. Parmar is now a senior in Modesto High School’s International Baccalaureate program, where he participates in rigorous and challenging courses while also focusing on community involvement. 

This year, Parmar is collaborating with Ceres native and University of California, Davis, graduate Jennifer Torres to hold the U-CAN! Oral Hygiene Drive. This latest endeavor by Parmar, whose father is a dentist in Turlock, will collect toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash, which will once again be donated to USF as well as the Turlock and Modesto Gospel Missions and the Second Harvest of the Greater Valley.

“One thing I’ve learned is people are inspired and want to help when they see something good for the community. Brushing, flossing and using mouthwash is crucial for a healthy mouth,” Parmar said. “Our drive aims to provide oral hygiene kit access for people in our community who do not have easy access to oral hygiene care products.”

While Parmar will focus his efforts in Turlock, Torres will expand the drive’s horizon by connecting with communities in Ceres and Modesto.

“Oral hygiene is a necessity that can get completely overlooked and can have detrimental effects on our overall health. With COVID-19 hitting a lot of folks hard in regard to health and finances, these oral health and hygiene products are more crucial than ever,” Torres said. “We have a good cause and I am glad to be a part of the solution.”

The U-CAN! Oral Hygiene Drive is running now through Aug. 30. Parmar and Torres are asking the community to donate oral hygiene supplies at any of four drop-off sites: the Turlock Journal office (121 S Center St., Second floor), Accurate Family Dental (2840 Geer Rd. in Turlock), Patogh Restaurant (130 W. Monte Vista Ave. in Turlock) or Pelandale Dental Care (3900 Pelandale Ave. #135 in Modesto).

For more information, Parmar can be reached at 209-535-6892, and Torres can be reached at 209-605-7287. The pair also welcome volunteers who would like to be a part of this drive and encourage participants to share their donations on social media to help spread the word.