June 10, 2016 - 5:30 PM
KELOWNA – Dozens of Kelowna dentists have agreed to volunteer their time this summer to help low-income residents keep smiling in the months to come.
The Gospel Mission’s dental program has been helping people with limited income get necessary dental work done since 2004. Since July 1, 2015 they have had 1,850 patient visits, according to executive director Randy Benson.
“This is such an incredible service,” he says. “I don’t think people know how many people need this.”
The clinic was operated under an agreement with UBC Okanagan which supplied residents who were on site full time. When the program changed, the Mission had to hire a licenced dentist and the cost, Benson says, became unsustainable.
“We couldn’t pay a dentist to be here so we reached out to the community.”
The community responded and they now have a roster of close to 30 local dentists who will be taking one or two day shifts each month throughout the summer.
“September is not determined but it gives us a little bit more time to work something out,” Benson says. “We’re starting to fill up the fall schedule but it takes a good chunk of dentists.”
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