Roanoke City Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Roanoke City Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic

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The Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic traditionally held in the spring has been moved to the late summer this year.

It takes hundreds of dental volunteers to see hundreds of patients in those two days. Thursday, volunteers are setting up at the Roanoke Civic Center and pre-screening patients before the real work begins Friday.

One man in charge of recruiting recently made a trip to the White House as he was honored for his efforts. Dr. David Black, one of the founding organizers, was given the Daily Point of Light Award this summer.

He works to get more dentists to volunteers, so ultimately more patients can be seen.

When the work is done at the end of the two days, he says, "I get two feelings. The first is I'm very proud and happy. The other is that we've barely scratched the surface, I do have a sadness, too."

This year, Black says more than 60 dentists have signed up to help, which is actually fewer than before. In past years, they've seen as many 900 patients, but this year they're hoping to help 800 folks.

In the past five years, volunteers have provided $5 million in free services to 5,000 patients.