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Free Dental Care Makes Waco Residents Smile

Aug. 16, 2010

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Texas Mission of Mercy is a unique organization. For no cost, it provides dental care to Texas residents who cannot afford a trip to the dentist. They were in Waco Friday and Saturday.

Robin Reed is a TSTC student who often has trouble finding the money to pay for a dental visit. So Friday, she stood in line at 7 a.m. to be screened for cavities and receive a tooth cleaning.

Texas Mission of Mercy, or T-Mom, provides hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of dental services in locations throughout the state, including Waco. Their goal is to see between 800 and a thousand patients at the event. While there is a statewide effort to provide these services, community involvement is critical in staging a T-Mom event. Debbie McElveen of Potters Vessel Ministries is the local chairperson.

Beyond the community organizations and sponsors, the most critical aspect to meet the overwhelming demands is the generosity of Texas dentists. Some dentists come from cities statewide, but over 30 were from here in the Waco area. Although there is no financial compensation for the dentists, they say you can't put a price on helping a person who would not otherwise receive care. For some patients, a simple procedure can be life-altering. Summer Ketron tells of one such patient.

This year's event was a success, and chairperson Debbie McElveen is hopeful that Texas Mission of Mercy can return to Waco in the coming years.

For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

KWBU's Jacqueline Deavenport contributed to this story.

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