Essentials for any traveler – at bare minimum — include a toothbrush.

Four hundred children, on average, who enter foster care due to crisis each year in Luzerne County, arrive with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing, according to PA State Rep. Tarah Toohil, 116th District. Brandon’s Forever Home and Benco Dental are working together to provide a more encouraging option. Organizers from the nonprofit organization established to raise adoption and foster care awareness arrived in Pittston, Pennsylvania at the home office of the nationwide dental distributor Tuesday, January 7 to collect the first installment of children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste the company’s Benco Family Foundation plans to donate.

“We started a non-profit 501c3 entity to encourage others to help local children in foster care. And this year is a great year because through Operation Duffel Bag we stopped the use of garbage bags (to transport their belongings),” said co-founder of Brandon’s Forever Home Lorine Angelo Ogurkis, Esq., who as an adoptive mother of children from foster care, described that as the norm. “One thing was missing to let the children know they are on a journey, on a path to something greater. Those duffels will now be filled with dental kits provided by Benco Dental and every child will have one in a time of crisis.”

Each quarter, the family-owned dental distribution company’s charitable arm will supply 100-plus dental kits for the nonprofit’s Operation Duffel Bag effort, which offers support to abandoned, abused and neglected children in Luzerne County.

“At home I had 42 foster brothers and sisters over the time period my parents took in children. My personal experience is what made me go into politics – I wanted to change the laws of foster care,” said State Rep. Toohil, co-founder of the nonprofit organization, who serves on the state Children and Youth Committee. “We’re very thankful to Benco Dental for doing this. We’re working to try to meet the need.”

“The Benco Family Foundation is really happy to support children and youth in our community in which we live and work.  We heard the story of Brandon’s Forever Home and it was very compelling. Every kid should have their own toothbrush ,” said Rebecca Binder, Executive Director of the Benco Family Foundation.

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For details about Brandon’s Forever Home or to support its efforts, visit: