Kelowna’s Gospel Mission unveiled its new community dental clinic on Thursday, much to the delight of their many clients and everyone involved in the renovation process.
The clinic opened this month with five fully operational chairs and a full time staff, which is in stark contrast to its early days a decade ago.
“Over the past 10 years we’ve grown from a two-night per month clinic to the full time, five chair clinic that you see today,” says Executive Director Randy Benson.
“We have served 3,000 patients and we’ve had over 100 local dental professionals who’ve given up their time and talent, and we’ve provided over two million dollars of free dental care.”
The charity clinic offers a family orientated practice that offers everything from basic teeth cleanings to fillings, and extractions. With the additional new space and chairs, they also hope to trim a waitlist that at times had been up to four months long.
“Instead of having a four month waitlist, we’re hoping we can see patients a lot quicker,” says Dental Director Shirley Goebel.
She explains that often those in the dental community would ask to come in during the day and volunteer, but due to space constrictions, they were unable.
Now that problem has now been alleviated.
“This is for those that we serve, to make a difference for them so that we can provide them with good, basic, dental care in a timely manner.”
The clinics clientele falls into four categories and includes the working poor, families on welfare, the homeless that are in need of services, and the elderly.
Some of the clinics patients were in attendance, including 88-year-old Martha Laser, who says the new space is outstanding.
“It’s a very big change, and we’re very grateful to be able to get (dental treatment) in Kelowna,” notes Laser.
“This will be very great for all the people that need help.”
She says everyone is always so pleasant and helpful, especially for people with low income who need dental care.