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They gave a smile back

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To the editor:

I recently accepted a public invitation to attend an annual board meeting for Caring Hands Dental Clinic of Alexandria, a non-profit agency serving the underinsured. The January 29 article in the paper summarized well the history and growth of the clinic, but actually seeing and hearing the Caring Hands story and vision made us appreciate the service this organization provides for our community and the dedicated staff and board members that make up the organization. Caring Hands had over 5,000 appointments in 2013 and provided 594 dental emergency procedures.

This year, over 20 clients I work with have received emergency dental care, which allowed them pain relief and subsequent ability to focus on other treatment objectives. Caring Hands provided almost $50,000 in free services, free oral hygiene products and free oral health classes. All the clients I work with are benefiting from a monthly oral health class specifically tailored to their needs and concerns.

Caring Hands relies on donations and grants from area individuals, businesses and organizations to supplement reimbursements from Minnesota health care programs (which are well below the actual cost of the services provided). With these monetary resources, they are able to plan for future growth and expanded services.

We are very lucky to have Caring Hands in our community and as one of my clients stated, “They gave me my smile back.” In the words of Mother Teresa, “Peace begins with a smile.” A simple smile can do great things.

Thank you, Caring Hands!

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