Press Release

February 18, 2011

Hundreds Expected at 'Missions of Mercy'Free Dental Clinic in Gloucester This Weekend

WILLIAMSBURG, VA — Hundreds of citizens are expected to turn out for free dental services this weekend at a clinic being held at Gloucester High School.

The "Missions of Mercy" clinic will provide dental service on a first-come, first-served basis to adults and children who are uninsured or underinsured. Spanish translation services will be available.

Kay Bradley, executive director of the Gloucester-Mathews Free Clinic, said last year's event drew more patients than could be treated. She said, "More than 500 people saw dentists at last year's one-day clinic, and we had to turn away 900 others. Some people slept in their cars to make sure they got in. It's a sign of the growing need in our community because of the recession."

Because of the need, this year's clinic was expanded to two days. Organizers expect to treat 750 people. In 2010, the value of services provided, which include cleanings, fillings and extractions, was more than $336,000.

Gloucester-Mathews Free Clinic has worked with Dr. Chuck Harris to organize the event. Dentists from throughout the region volunteer their time through the Virginia Dental Association. The Williamsburg Community Health Foundation is one of the events' funders.

The clinic will be open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 19, and from 7 a.m. to noon on Sunday February 20.

The Williamsburg Community Health Foundation, a private non-profit organization, supports programs that improve the health of people living in Williamsburg and surrounding counties. It focuses on enhancing access to quality health services and promoting responsible health practices. The foundation was formed in 1996. Since then it has given more than $44 million to support community health programs in the area. More information is available at www.WCHF.com.