The Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Foundation recently announced it has reached its “Mobile Miracles” fundraising goal of raising $600,000 to purchase a new dental bus.
The dental bus travels across East Central Illinois providing preventive and restorative dental care to children who quality by being on the free or reduced school lunch program. The bus will replace the now-inoperable one that was purchased in 2008.
“We are so extremely grateful for our donors who helped us reach this goal,” Amy Card, Foundation Director, said. “Every dollar donated touches the life of a child in our community, many who are in need of urgent dental care. Without SBL Dental Services, these children would have nowhere else to go. Our donors continue to be so generous and their generosity directly impacts lives every single day. I can’t thank them enough.”
With 20 percent of residents in SBL’s service area living below the poverty line, SBL Healthy Communities Director Laura Bollan noted that one in eight children doesn’t even own a toothbrush and hundreds of children are suffering from severe dental decay. “Our dental team sees first hand that children withdraw from friends, quit sports and even fail in school due to dental pain, or because they’re embarrassed by the appearance of their teeth,” Bollan said. The SBL Dental Bus helps to remove transportation and financial barriers and often provides the only hope these children have for treatment.
SBL’s new dental bus will be equipped with two operatories and staffed by a dentist, hygienist and dental assistants. Restorative care services are scheduled in advance, with a rotating schedule among the participating schools/sites. This allows SBL Dental Services to bring needed care to the children on a continuous basis, accommodating follow-up care and fulfilling a child’s treatment plan.
The Health Foundation extends a special thank you to those who donated $15,000 or more to the campaign. The names of these donors are showcased on the back of the new bus including: Michael and Laura Bollan, Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Dan and Jeanne Cunningham, Dental Office of Drs. Kennedy, Gass, Haslett and Kepp, Jerry & Lana Esker, First Mid, Frank Fisher and Betty Lou Fisher Trust, Rural King, Sarah Bush Lincoln Guild, Tony and Debbie Sparks, Gary and Jennifer Swearingen, Steve and Linda Wente and WomenConnected.