Dentists and hygienists are just a few of the types of volunteers needed at a free dental clinic planned for next weekend in Charlotte.
Organizers of the event said they also need Spanish translators and other community helpers to keep things moving smoothly at the clinic, which will be held Friday and Saturday at the Charlotte Convention Center.
“Particularly Spanish to English translators, that’s a dire need,” said Dr. Evan Miller, local dentist and co-chairman of the N.C. Missions of Mercy in Charlotte.
Patients at the clinic can have their teeth cleaned, cavities filled or receive other dental work for free.
During last year’s clinic, the N.C. Missions of Mercy provided $1.1 million worth of free dental services to more than 2,100 adults, Miller said. It took about 1,600 volunteers to sustain that effort.
This year, event organizers say they expect about the same number of people to receive help at the clinic. But so far, they’re lacking the necessary number of volunteers to serve them. “We’re probably at half the people that we’re ultimately going to need in those three clinics,” Miller said, referring to volunteer shifts between 6 p.m. and midnight on Friday, from midnight to 6 a.m. on Saturday, and from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Event organizers are also looking for volunteers to help register and escort clinic participants. The N.C. Mission of Mercy is a program affiliated with the North Carolina Dental Society and has provided more than $7 million in free dental services across the state between 2010 and 2011.
Next weekend’s clinic is open to people 18 and older who must sign income statements verifying they don’t earn more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
For more information or to volunteer, visit the N.C. Mission of Mercy website at ncmom-charlotte.com.