Mission Center: The Episcopal Church: Partnerships

Dental Care in Amarillo

St. Andrew's and St. Peter's Churches are participating members of the Christian Campaign for the Homeless in Amarillo, TX. Individual members of those congregations were instrumental in applying for at UTO Grant to provide dental care for the poor in Amarillo.

Dental care was one of the greatest unmet needs in the community. Lack of accessible dental care had created an unjust situation. Many had felt doomed to go through life with hurting mouths, and afraid to show their smiles. Some had such low self esteem that it had been difficult for them to feel comfortable in trying for better jobs. The Amarillo community has shown that it will provide the leadership and coordination to keep this program going. The needed financial assistance to put the plans into action on a regular basis was provided by a $10,000 United Thank Offering Grant in June of 1999.

Kay Kennedy, Director of Development for Catholic Family Service, Inc. which administrates the program, is delighted. She reports: "The program grew beyond our expectations. We needed help to determine how to handle the large numbers of people requesting services. Thank you for the seed money that allowed us to dream big!"

The original plan was to have one dentist with one chair located in an unused office rented by a tenant. With the vision and energy of retired dentist, Dr. Howard Cassada, a donated building with utilities and janitorial services, and a partnership within the dental community of Amarillo, the COMMUNITY DENTAL CLINIC was opened in November 2000.

By mid-spring the staff had seen 1126 patients, receiving 4,173 procedures valued at $412,779. For most patients, the CLINIC provides freedom from pain, the ability to chew, the desire to smile, and a renewed sense of self-worth. The CLINIC is not service by numbers, but rather servants serving with compassion.

Amarillo, Texas is in the Diocese of Northwest Texas;The Rt. Rev. Wallace Ohl, bishop.

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