A new organization established to reach children and adolescents in need of basic dental care says it’s close to opening up next to Sidney Elementary School.
Oral Care for Children and Adolescents, or ORCCA, was founded by Dr. Mitra Hashemi, a Sidney dentist who saw that there were families who just couldn’t afford dental care for their children under 19.
In the last two years, ORCCA has received community support to help get the non-profit organization off the ground, including the donation of an annex building at Sidney Elementary School on Henry Avenue.
Heather Burkett, the ORCCA board chairperson, says a phone system was installed this week and Dr. Hashemi is in the process of moving some of her patients over to the new site.
Burkett said Dr. Hashemi has already begun seeing children in need at her practice while waiting for the annex building to be opened.
That space will facilitate local dentists willing to give their time to help reach adolescents with basic dental care.
Burkett said the support of the community has been tremendous — case-in-point being a $5,000 donation from the Pier Hotel this week.
The Pier Hotel held a Mardi Gras event — transforming their large spaces into the French Quarter, complete with music, tarot card readings and decorations. General Manager Natalie King said virtually the entire hotel team got involved to make it happen.
King said they chose to help ORCCA because of its work with children in need and after 200-plus people showed up for the fun, they had raised the $5,000.
“Anything that helps kids tends to tug at the heartstrings,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to support an organization that provides an essential service. Many of us simply take dental care for granted.”
Burkett said the board is very pleased with the donation, noting it helps get the clinic space ready to officially open — which she said will occur in about two weeks.
Already, she added, there’s a waiting list of people who require the basic dental care being offered.
To find out more, visit orccadental.ca or call 778-351-3393.