Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Holiday Festival aims to bring healthy smiles to more children.
With hundreds of children in need of dental care, money raised during the Health Center’s 22nd annual fundraiser will benefit Sarah Bush Lincoln Children’s Dental Services to provide dental care at no cost to families that qualify. The event is being held virtually, with the online auction running from November 9 to 16 and a Live Auction Event on November 15.
“We have some fantastic items up for bid this year and 100 percent of the proceeds from the auction will go toward helping these children,” Holiday Festival coordinator Kim Lockart said.
The dental program partners with area schools and health departments to provide preventive and restorative dental care, plus oral hygiene education, to children in Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Effingham, Jasper, Moultrie and Shelby counties.
“Poor oral health, especially in children, can lead to pain, missed school days, poor eating and nutrition and problems with confidence and self-esteem,” SBL Dentist Cody Gass, DMD, said. “Since starting in June, my eyes have been opened to the needs these kids present at our clinic. We see kids as young as two years old with their baby teeth completely decayed and broken down – kids experiencing pain with tooth infections, swollen faces, sleepless nights and other needs that, without us, would simply go untreated.”
Crystal Lenhart, a single mother of seven, said, “Dr. Gass has helped my kids with cavities and infected teeth that needed to be pulled and I am thankful. It’s very important for them to have healthy teeth and healthy smiles. Dr. Gass goes out of his way to give each one of my children special attention when it’s their day to come. He’s there for them and he’s makes them feel special.”
Rose Hawkins, mother of two, is especially grateful to dental clinic staff members for easing her daughter’s fear. “I don’t know why my daughter developed this fear – this phobia of going to the dentist, but the dental staff really went above and beyond to make her experience a little better and now she actually enjoys coming here.”
Scott Larson, a single father of five, is also quick to sing the dental team’s praises. “With all the dental work my kids have had, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it without this clinic – there’s no way,” he said. “The staff is always very generous. They love being around kids and don’t treat my kids like they’re a burden.”
SBL Children’s Dental Services provides approximately 4,000 office visits per year. “In our clinic, we see first-hand the poverty, lack of resources and sometimes even the lack of running water these kids deal with every day,” Dr. Gass said. “Typically, kids may have a cavity every few years when they go to the dentist. In our clinic, kids routinely have 10 or more cavities and that’s on a good day.”
For more information on SBL Dental Services, or to schedule an appointment for a screening, please call 1-877-511-2602 (toll-free). For more information about the Festival, contact Kim Lockart, event coordinator, at 217 258-2511 or visit www.sarahbush.org/holiday festival. Text SBLHS to 56651 to register to bid on silent auction items or to make a donation to SBL Dental Services.