The Iowa Dental Foundation will hold its third “Mission of Mercy” (MOM) free dental clinic in November in Cedar Rapids. Dentist Richard Hettinger of Sioux City is chair of the event and says they had looked at Cedar Rapids before the last MOM event in Newton two years ago.
Hettinger says they were looking at Newton and then the flooding happened in Cedar Rapids and he looked into doing the event in Cedar Rapids.
“I talked to people in Cedar Rapids and they were just so bound up with just trying to dig out that they didn’t think they could mount an effective event,” Hettinger says. He says things have improved and they will take the event to Cedar Rapids on November fifth and sixth.
“Certainly the reconstruction is not finished, they are still working all over town, but a few more people can see the light of day and we can mount a very effective event here,” Hettinger says.
Dental professionals from across the state donate their time during the two days to provide all kinds of free dental work to the people who attend the clinic. Hettinger says they also need some volunteer help to make the event run. He says there are a lot of things that need to be done during the event, and they have more non-dental volunteers than they do professionals. Volunteer work includes feeding everyone, taking care of kids, cleaning up, sterilizing instruments, and a number of other things.
Hettinger says the volunteers have provided an estimated one-point-four million dollars in free dental care to nearly three-thousand patients in the first two clinics. He says the volunteers get a payback too. “The main thing that seems to happen at these events is that everybody smiles,” Hettinger explains, “the patients are smiling because they are being taken care of by some of the kindest people in the state, the people providing the care are smiling because they get to do what they love to do every day for people who truly need it and appreciate the fact that we’re doing it.”
For more details on the November clinic, go on-line at: www.IowaMOM.org.