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Filling a need

Delta Dental to donate new water bottle filling stations to FD schools

-Submitted photo
FDMS seventh grader Luke Fierke refills his water bottle using the Elkay water bottle filling station donated by the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation in 2019. The Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation is donating a second water bottle filling station to FDMS this year.

Students in the Fort Dodge Community School District will have more options for refilling their water bottles while at school thanks to a donation from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s Rethink Your Drink program.

In 2021, 90 Iowa schools will receive new Elkay water bottle filling stations for free, an investment from Delta Dental of nearly $300,000.

“As many schools were forced to shut off water fountains due to COVID-19 precautions, water bottle filling stations became an essential hydration tool,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. “Rethink Your Drink provides a visible and meaningful way to directly impact the oral and overall health of Iowans.”

Feelhaver Elementary School and Fort Dodge Middle School are two of the 90 schools statewide that will receive new water bottle filling stations this year. Locally, St. Paul Lutheran School will also receive a new station. All three schools previously were recipients of the 2019 distribution of the water bottle filling stations from Delta Dental, so now each building will have two of the stations to serve its students and staff.

“We are grateful to Delta Dental for the water bottle filling station at Fort Dodge Middle School as many of our students carry water bottles all day,” said FDMS Principal Aaron Davidson. “The bottle filling station has provided us opportunities to talk with students about things like making healthy choices, sustainability and reducing waste. Overall it’s been an educational tool. The filling station has also been a tool for helping keep kids and staff healthy by reducing the spread of germs and illness.”

The water bottle filling stations are touchless, so a user just needs to hold their water bottle underneath the spout and fresh, filtered water starts pouring.

Delta Dental has been donating these water bottle filling stations to Iowa schools for five years. In 2018, Butler Elementary School received one. In 2019 Feelhaver Elementary School, FDMS and St. Paul Lutheran School each received one. In 2020, Community Christian School received a water bottle filling station.

Since 2018, the stations at Butler, Feelhaver and FDMS have saved 68,000 plastic water bottles. The stations keep a tally of how many refills it produces, preventing the need for single-use plastic water bottles.

Locally, three other schools will also receive new water bottle filling stations from Delta Dental this year: South Central Calhoun Middle School in Rockwell City, St. Thomas Aquinas School in Webster City and Sunset Heights Elementary School in Webster City.

The Rethink Your Drink program gives priority to schools with a higher percentage of free and reduced lunches in the school district.

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