Volunteers needed for event in February
For the past three years, an event known as the Oklahoma Mission of Mercy has been serving patients of all ages by providing critical dental care to those who need it most and doing it for free.
The fourth year of the Oklahoma Mission of Mercy in Oklahoma brings the event to Lawton, thanks to campaigning by local dentists such as Lawton's Todd Bridges. "This is the single largest charitable event in Southwest Oklahoma in the history of our state," Bridges said. He also spoke of reaching out to the Fort Sill dental commander, and subsequently Fort Sill dentists have been recruited due to the enormity of the operation.
In the past three annual clinics, nearly 6,000 people have been treated in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and McAlester, respectively, and this year will keep on track with these numbers. During Feb. 1-2, Bridges and others will provide free dental care for approximately 2,000 patients with the most pressing dental needs who are underinsured, uninsured, or those who would normally not have access to dental care.
OkMOM, as it is known, is sponsored by several state dental organizations, including the Oklahoma Dental Association and the Oklahoma Dental Foundation, Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation. The two-day clinic features 135 dentists' chairs and receives grants for dental supplies from the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation.
But one of the most pressing needs OkMOM has is for funding and volunteers. The clinic costs about $150,000 to run, and the remaining portion of funds not covered by grants must be acquired through fundraising. Volunteers, with no medical experience necessary, are needed for assistance during the massive clinic in all areas, such as feeding dental volunteers, assisting patients before and after being treated, and with organizing the large number of patients into appropriate areas.