Groups partner to promote oral health across Clay, surrounding counties

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MANCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – Volunteers of America (VOA) and the Kentucky Beverage Association (KBA) announced a new oral health initiative.

The campaign will launch this summer in Manchester and is focused on promoting awareness and access to oral health care in the Southeastern Kentucky communities served by Volunteers of America.

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As lead partner, the Kentucky Beverage Association has made a financial commitment of $25,000 to improve oral health in the region, a key component to overall health in a part of the state hit hard by substance use disorder.

Poor oral health can cause serious conditions including chronic inflammation and bacteria in the blood, which directly increases the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease.

Proper oral care and education is also important for individuals who struggle with substance use disorder as these individuals frequently exhibit signs of poor oral hygiene and lack of access to professional oral care.

“We are very grateful to the Kentucky Beverage Association for their partnership in making better oral health a priority – and a reality – for families in need. Together, VOA and KBA will build awareness about the vital importance of oral health and work to connect families to providers. VOA’s goal is a healthier Southeastern Kentucky, and we know this campaign will make a difference for the families we serve,” said Jennifer Hancock, President and CEO of Volunteers of America Mid-States.

The campaign is using a comprehensive approach to improve oral health, including community focus groups, local outreach to build awareness of the importance of oral health and programs, and community events to connect families to treatment providers.

The Kentucky Beverage Association is excited to support this campaign,” said Sara Massey KBA Executive Director. “Across Kentucky, our members are working hard to make life better for Kentuckians, and we know oral health is a vital part of that. The work VOA does in Southeast KY is so consequential, and by promoting balance and healthy oral habits, we are excited to join them in their work!”

Volunteers of America and the Kentucky Beverage Association are excited to work together with a range of community partners and supporters to provide the community with resources and support.

Together, their outreach and education will focus on all stages of oral health care, from educating pregnant women on the importance of oral health care to best practices for adults.

“VOA sees the need for more awareness and access to professional dental care up close with the individuals and families we serve at Freedom House and our Recovery Community Center. In so many cases, education and outreach can make all the difference in building healthier communities,” Hancock said.

“Across Kentucky, communities are embracing the fact that access to good and reliable oral health care is key to improving overall health,” added Massey. “Kentucky Beverage Association member companies across the state are proud to help communities in this embrace as we promote balance and provide education on the variety of beverage choices that are available.”

Volunteers of America is celebrating the first anniversary of its Freedom House program in Clay County.  A nationally recognized treatment program for pregnant and parenting women working to overcome substance use disorder, it has already served more than 100 women and children with six healthy babies having been born at Freedom House.  In addition to Freedom House, VOA also operates a Recovery Community Center in Manchester that serves as a meeting place and provides supports for individuals in recovery.

OA also recently initiated a new Restorative Justice program in Clay, Leslie, Jackson, Laurel, Know, Whitley and McCreary Counties that emphasizes community collaboration to keep young people out of the criminal justice system.

VOA’s day-to-day experience with women and families seeking treatment to substance use disorder has established better oral health care as an urgent priority for the region.

The Kentucky Beverage Association (KBA) has proudly served as the trade association of Kentucky’s non-alcoholic beverage community since 1917

KBA’s member companies maintain a spirited competition in the marketplace while utilizing the association to advocate at the federal, state, and local levels. As a unified voice, the KBA promotes the development, preservation, operation, and general welfare of the beverage industry in Kentucky. For more information, visit kybev.com.