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Connecticut MOM event draws thousands

July 16, 2012

By Kelly Soderlund, ADA News staff

Danbury, Conn.—Seventeen hours before the doors opened, a woman in a wheelchair got in line with her 9-year-old son who needed dental care.

Busy clinic: The activity in the hygiene department

It was 1 p.m. and the Connecticut Mission of Mercy event at the O’Neill Center on the Western Connecticut State University campus was not set to begin until 6 a.m. the next day. But this is how badly people wanted care, said Dr. Robert Schreibman, co chair of the event, which was coordinated by the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach.

“There’s a huge need,” Dr. Schreibman said. “We really don't see the part of the population who have this need.”

The event was held March 23-24 and 2,008 patients received care. About $1.3 million in dental services were donated and 1,605 people volunteered at the event, which was in its fifth year.

There were no restrictions as to who received care, which was provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The CFDO, which coordinated the event, advertised on the local TV and radio stations and placed ads in the newspapers to get the word out.

“It was just an amazing outpouring from the local community,” Dr. Schreibman said. “It is amazing how many people volunteer their time. We just ask. We don’t have a problem. They just keep coming and coming back.”

Ready for a look: A young patient smiles before receiving an X-Ray. The clinic boasted eight X-ray stations and two portable nomads.

Don't be scared: Dr. Robert Gatehouse puts a patient at ease while explaining the procedures she needs.