It’s no different than a regular trip to the dentist, except no one has to pay. Why? Well, because more than 25 dental professionals gathered at Church in the Valley in Langley, B.C., on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 4 and 5,, 2018, offering their services free of charge.
“We did a free community dental day for anyone who is unable to afford to see a dentist,” said lead pastor, David Jamieson. According to the Canadian Dental Association, 32 percent, or one-third, of all Canadians either aren’t covered by dental insurance or cannot afford to see a dentist.
The AOK Free Dental Day was organized by our charitable initiative in Langley called AOK—Acts of Kindness—which assists low-income individuals and families in need in the Township of Langley. The two-day, volunteer-staffed clinic provided free dental care to anyone in need, on an appointment basis. Care provided included cleanings, fillings, extractions, and X-rays.
AOK aims to build community and cultivate better lives for residents of the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It regularly hosts a variety of free community initiatives and events, such as Single Parents’ Oil Change; Cars for Moms; a Single Moms’ Support Group; Extreme Home Repair; Breakfast Club at a public elementary school in Aldergrove, B.C.; summer camp assistance for dozens of children each year to attend Mountain View Summer Camp in Hope, B.C.; a weekly Food and Clothing Pantry; and, last but not least, AOK/Nightshift, which ministers to and feeds those without a home every Thursday evening throughout the year. AOK is also passionate about connecting people who have a heart for their community with the resources and tools needed to enrich the lives of their neighbours and friends.
Since 1996, in collaboration with other local agencies, and through the generosity of major donors, Acts of Kindness has supplied food, education, shelter, support, and compassion to thousands of individuals in the Township of Langley.
Our very first Free Dental Day helped 115 patients see a dentist who otherwise would not have been able to do so.
While performing a filling and chip repair on a patient, Dr. Rhonda Elloway-Stephens explained the joy she receives when giving back. “To come in like this and do it for free, it’s great,” she said, leaving her patient with healthy teeth, and hundreds of dollars saved.
One patient interviewed shared that seeing a dentist “definitely would have been something I wouldn’t have done this year; it would have taken a little bit longer to save up the money.”
Another said, “I was a little nervous. I didn’t think I would get much done, but they have been great, they have been fantastic. I came in, and I got a cleaning done, and now I’m also getting an extraction.”
It is absolutely amazing to see that local dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants were willing to give back to their community for two days and to make a difference in people’s lives.
If your church is interested in making a difference in its community or becoming a part of a new AOK Acts of Kindness Network, please call 604/514-8335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
–David Jamieson, lead pastor, Church in the Valley (Langley, B.C.)