2014 MDA Mission of Mercy (MOM)
Over 50 WMDDS volunteered for this event
Dr. Margaret Gingrich - 2014 Local MOM chair writes...
"WOW, what a weekend. After 12 plus months of emails, planning, and hard work the Mission of Mercy took place at Ferris State University, Big Rapids on May 29-June 1, 2014. If you were there, you know what a great time was had by all!
The semi-truck of equipment was dropped on Wednesday and at 7 am Thursday morning it was opened for set-up. As locals from the Big Rapids area joined dental team members and MDA dentists from across the state, the set up was complete by early afternoon.
The first patient, Dwayne Dallas, arrived about 8 pm Wednesday night! I offered to take Dallas home and bring him back in Thursday afternoon. He was coming from 10 miles South in Stanwood and took 4 days off work to get his teeth fixed. As I introduced myself, Dallas was eating nuts and had a case of water under his chair. He sheepishly put his nuts away and said,"Don't let the nuts fool you, I am only eating on 2 good teeth. I have been waiting months for this clinic to come. I have wanted to get my teeth fixed for awhile, but couldn't afford it on a cook's salary. I don't qualify for help from the state because I don't have any kids!" I can truly say Dallas was not there for a free handout. He volunteered for set-up all day Thursday (we promised to hold his spot) and after all the dental work was completed, Dallas volunteered Saturday afternoon for cleaning up! Dallas received over $2,600 in dental treatment including extractions, fillings, and flippers. Dallas told me when he left that this was a life changing event and he was thankful to all involved and to think he received a flier from a friend and saw it on Facebook!
For most volunteers, their day started between 4:30-5:30 am of Friday. For a few lucky souls, me included, the morning started at 3 am. This year, we received a $5,000 grant from Osceola County Community Foundation to feed patients while they waited. Volunteers served food such as yogurt from Yoplait (who made a cash donation) to hot hotdogs and chips from FritoLays (who donated chips) and water from Ice Mountain (who also donated). The line was over 200 people long by 4 am that morning. People arrived from all over the state! I talked with patients throughout the weekend from Wayne County to Cheboygan to Three Rivers and everywhere in between. Although this MOM was held in a rural area of Big Rapids, it didn't stop people from coming to get out of pain and fix their smiles.
Saturday morning was much the same. We had great weather that made it easier on volunteers and patients alike. With the help 1,164 volunteers including 170 dentists, we saw 858 patients for a grand donation of over $847,000! This was the biggest volunteer project our most northern county of WMDDS has every seen and with the help of many of you, it was very successful. By Sunday, June 1 at noon, the entire clinic was packed up and everyone was heading home. Many had changed lives, both patients and volunteers alike."