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Luke George, a senior, forms nonprofit NW Dental Project (nwdentalproject.org)

The lottery was a low-key affair, just a man standing at the front of a church dining room, choosing winners out of a hat.

PHOTO COURTESY: LISA DANIELS - La Salle Prep senior Luke George gets a box of dental supplies ready to distribute to low-income people for the NW Dental Project nonprofit he founded.Still, the men and women who came for a free breakfast leaned in, hoping for a little luck. The prize? A kit of hygiene supplies, including toothpaste and a toothbrush.

La Salle Prep senior Luke George, who was serving food at the church with other students from the Milwaukie-area that morning, was struck by how badly everyone wanted to win. Then it hit him: Little things — like a toothbrush — can help you reclaim your dignity.

The epiphany in the church dining hall last spring inspired him. After brainstorming with his dentist father, Scott George (a 1989 graduate of La Salle Prep), he formed the nonprofit NW Dental Project (nwdentalproject.org), then started raising money to buy dental supplies that he packed into kits that each included a toothbrush, tube of toothpaste and pack of floss.

So far, NW Dental Project has collected more than $3,000 and given away more than 3,000 kits to agencies, such as St. André Bessette Catholic Church and the Portland Rescue Mission, that serve those in need.

Luke George said he's just trying to help.

"Everyone deserves the dignity of being a human being," he said. "Having a toothbrush gives them hope."

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