Rotary Clubs Donate to Dental Clinics
The three FirstHealth Dental Care Centers accept about 100 new patients, infants to children to age 18, each month.
Many of those children have never been to a dentist, and some have problems so severe that they need specialty services that exceed the care the Dental Care Center staff can provide.
Those cases have included:
A 2-year-old who was crying in pain because of nursing bottle decay
A 15-year-old needing a root canal
An 11-year-old with a sinus mass
A 15-year-old with advanced gum disease and severe decay in almost every tooth.
Donations from three Moore County Rotary clubs to the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation's Kids in Crisis Fund are earmarked for the Dental Care Centers, and will help ensure that children with specialty dental care needs will get help.
"Our gratitude for the gifts from these three Rotary clubs can never be adequately expressed," says Dr. Sharon Nicholson Harrell, director of the FirstHealth Dental Care Centers. "The good people who contribute these funds probably never see the smiles on the faces of these children, but they can be assured that the smiles are there because of the generosity of organizations like their clubs."
David Williams, program manager for the Dental Care Centers in Southern Pines, Troy and Raeford, took the Dental Care Center message to the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Sandhills Rotary clubs. A longtime Rotarian, Williams saw FirstHealth as a good match for Rotary and its various health-related focuses.
"Both Rotary and FirstHealth are health-oriented and service-demand organizations," he says. "That's why we've got such a good relationship. It's a good match for our community."
Members of the three clubs also recognized the common goals of the two organizations.
"Few things are as important as giving back to the community and helping those in need," says Cynthia Kent-Mills of the Southern Pines Rotary Club. "The dental care program provides a much-needed service to so many, and our foundation was most impressed with the good work that it accomplishes."
"During the 25 years that the Pinehurst Rotary Club Foundation has existed, our club has been able to make grants in excess of $300,000 to deserving organizations such as the FirstHealth Dental Care Centers," says Denis R. O'Brien of the Pinehurst Rotary Club. "We take the position that the Rotary motto of 'Service Above Self' has a much larger meaning and can be correctly interpreted to mean 'Service to the Community Above Self.'"
"Since our club's foundation has always had a focus on local needs, we thought this was a natural fit for our foundation dollars," says Tom Boals of the Sandhills Rotary Club. "The board recognizes that a donation to the Dental Care Centers allows children to have healthy teeth, and increases the likelihood that they will enter school ready to learn. Our board views this donation as an investment in the future of our children, and we want to help ensure the success of this worthy project."
The FirstHealth Dental Care Centers have served more than 19,000 children since the first of the three clinics opened in Southern Pines in 1998. Established to provide comprehensive dental care to low-income children up to age 18, the centers' three dentists, 13 full-time staff members and various fill-in dentists and support personnel average 1,000 patient care visits a month.
The full-time center in Southern Pines operates six days a week while part-time centers operate three days a week in Troy and two days a week in Raeford.
Anyone needing more information on how to donate to the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation's Kids in Crisis Fund, call the Foundation of FirstHealth at 695-7500.
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