Mobile Dental Clinic Provides Critical Services
Talk about an efficient use of space! Through a partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest, on the first Wednesday of each month, youth whose families are clients of the Community Action Center are able to take advantage of dental services on the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® (RMCM). Though the office space itself is quite small, the organization's comfortable, well-appointed clinic-on-wheels meets a real community need — offering dental exams, cleanings and basic restorative care to people in need.
Susan Buck, a Northfield native, is the dentist on board the RMCM. Her father, Jon, is a retired dentist, her mother, Grace, is a teacher at Open Door Nursery School, and her brother, David, is a dentist at Heritage Dental Care in Northfield. She says helping the Northfield community in this way is particularly meaningful. "There's not a really good safety net for dental care. Working here allows me to serve my industry and communities around the Twin Cities in a special way. We're providing critical outreach to people who don't otherwise have the resources available to receive dental care."
Buck goes on to explain the importance of the RMCM's services. "We're helping kids who are having difficulty concentrating in school because of a sore tooth. We've seen teenagers' confidence and sense of self-worth improve significantly as the result of minor tooth repair. On top of the dental work itself, we make a special effort to provide oral education. We reinforce the importance of daily care — brushing and flossing — and visiting a dentist on a regular basis. We're not designed to provide ongoing care for an individual. The goal is to help patients find a more stable dental home, and we want to do everything we can to help make that happen."
The RMCM, which sees families in communities throughout 14 counties in the metro area, has assisted clients of the Community Action Center for more than two years. Jim Blaha, executive director of the CAC, says, "We are so grateful to have the partnership and support of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. There's no question in my mind that it is meeting a real need in our community and our clients really appreciate the care of the professionals on board."
For more information about the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, contact Kathy Bjerke at the Community Action Center at 507-664-3550.
March FoodShare Campaign Exceeds Goal
With a goal to raise 130,000 dollars/pounds of food during the March FoodShare campaign, the Community Action Center more than succeeded, collecting a total of 142,127 dollars/pounds. Judy Bickel, program director at the CAC, says, "The support we received is evidence of how much this community cares for its neighbors. Businesses, churches and individuals all stepped up in big ways to ensure the strength of our programs to feed people who are hungry."
Bickel goes on to note that the services the Community Action Center provides would not be possible without the help of the 1,354 volunteers who donated more than 9,000 hours in the last year to help keep the Food Shelf operational. She says, "Despite a 51 percent increase in the number of households we've served in the last five years, our neighbors in the Northfield area have continued to ensure that the food programs of the Community Action Center are adequately supported. Thank you, everyone, for making a commitment to support such an important program in our community."
Get involved! The Community Action Center is currently seeking Food Shelf volunteers willing to commit to a regular schedule of involvement. Volunteers will stock the shelves, make food deliveries, sort and display produce, pick up bread donations and assist clients while shopping. For more information, contact Steph Helkenn at 507-664-3585.