| Oct 31, 2014
The annual Project Connect event occurred on September 13th. Project Connect is a one-day event that offers free services to those who are struggling to make ends meet or experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon. MTI participates by sending our mobile dental vans and volunteers.
Project Connect was the biggest success for Central Oregon and Medical Teams International.
The event was attended by over 1,200 people from three counties, Deschutes, Jefferson
The biggest draw was the dental clinic. Nearly 200 people checked in to the clinic to receive fillings, extractions, and misc. dental work, in addition to cleanings and x-rays.
There was over twenty-three dentists, fourteen hygienists, and twenty-five assistants. That doesn't include the
laypersons that helped with paper work, escorting and medical triage.
The two sectors of the Central Oregon population that was represented were those
that are on Medi-care and have no dental insurance.
About 10% where homeless, and 89% are below poverty level of income.
After doing this job for almost 8 years, I am still taken aback by the spirit of gratefulness
that the patients all share. They express it to everyone all the way through the process.
Many of them wait in line most of the day. They
don't complain and are surprisingly pleasant for waiting an average of four hours.
They are in pain and have been for a long time. For many of them, this is their only
chance at getting ANY dental care. They know that at least once a year the doors for
dental care are open to them and they can come without judgment to receive dental
The volunteers, many work all day, with only a few minutes' break for the restroom
and take a bite to eat. They do so with a joyful heart. You don't
hear anyone complaining, judging or critizing. They work like little army ants.
I am proud to be a part of this event.
Reporting by Debbie Sumbaugh, Mobile Dental Van Manager, MTI