William Hammerlee, DMD, FAGD, is surrounded by his staff [from left to right, Renee D’Amico, assistant; Stacie Zaccaria, RDH, PHDHP; Jody Benich, business manager; and Linda Straub-Bruce, RDH, BSEd, PHDHP] at the dental office's booth at Zoo Boo.
A tradition at the Erie, Pa., zoo is the annual Halloween Event, Zoo Boo, where one booth annually does not pass out candy.
"This scary-but-not-too-scary event hands out bags to approximately 20,000 children ages two to 12, and they go through the zoo visiting treat booths with their families," said Linda Straub-Bruce, a local dental hygienist.
Straub-Bruce and the staff of Hammerlee Dental Care man the booth that does not pass out candy to the trick-and-treaters. The dental office passes out sugar-free gum and toothbrushes. She said 40,000 residents participate in the two-week event each night at the zoo. Hammerlee Dental Care has sponsored a booth at Zoo Boo for three Halloweens.
For this year's Zoo Boo, Dr. William Hammerlee added a certificate in each bag for a free dental exam and “cavity detecting” X-rays (a $105.00 value).
"With the exception of an April 2012 expiration date, we have placed no restrictions on the certificate," said Straub-Bruce. "Anyone can use it – adult or child, new patient or existing, insured or not. The goal is to increase access to care in the area by getting people in for a comprehensive examination, oral cancer screening, and diagnostic X-rays.
"Everyone knows that dental issues are easier to take care of when caught early, and this provides an excellent opportunity for anyone to be able to be educated on their current oral health status. The event draws a wide variety of demographics, and easily puts this opportunity in the hands of a large segment of the community with the numbers that attend."
Straub-Bruce handles the event coordination and logistics for the dental office's booth at Zoo Boo, and fellow hygienist Stacie Zaccaria frequently dresses up as the Tooth Fairy and visits children near the booth during the event.
Straub-Bruce also said Hammerlee Dental Care has also participated in other community outreach programs during 2011:
- School dental health presentations and giveaways
- Oral health product donations for deployed soldiers
- A Groupon coupon for examinations, X-rays and whitening for $40.
- Oral health product donations for local VA veterans
- Sponsorship of the Erie Bikers Against Cancer (EBAC) bike run benefiting the John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation
- Sponsorship of the 4th Annual Michael D. Crotty Emergency Services Motorcycle Ride
- Sponsorship of the 5th annual Roar on the Shore 3-day event in which this year’s beneficiary was the Flight 93 National Memorial (over 50,000 motorcycles were estimated to be in attendance!)
- Donation of a large basket of dental products (power toothbrushes, preventative items, whitening - $275.00 value) to the LECOM Medical Fitness and Wellness Center for their silent auction benefiting the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Student Scholarship Fund
- Donation of over 800 giveaways for the “Kid’s Zone” dental health section of our local Celebrate Erie Festival
"We’ve committed to providing the dental health giveaways for the Wellsville healthy living initiative presentation at St. George Catholic School in Erie, PA in January 2012," Straub-Bruce added. "As an aside, my 6-year-old son and I have appeared on many of this season’s Wellsville TV programs that appear on our Fox-66 Saturday mornings and have LOVED filming the spots for the show!
"Finally, we’re on board for Hammerlee Dental Care to be a Sealant Saturday location in 2012! This will be our first and we’ve signed on for four chairs to provide them on February 4, 2012."