Community support bolsters Sidney’s charity dental clinic

Volunteer dentists have seen around 300 young patients since the start of a charitable clinic in Sidney two years ago.

ORCCA board chair Heather Burkett hugs one of the dental program’s participants

ORCCA board chair Heather Burkett hugs one of the dental program’s participants

Volunteer dentists have seen around 300 young patients since the start of a charitable clinic in Sidney two years ago.

On March 16, the board of directors, staff and dentist volunteers of the Oral Care of Children and Adolescents dental care society held an appreciation even at Canoe Cove Joe’s restaurant in North Saanich. It was a way, says Board Chair Heather Burkett, to recognize the many people and organizations who helped make the clinic a reality.

This year, the clinic marked its second anniversary, opening in 2015 in a renovated portable at Sidney Elementary School. Burkett said it took around three years prior to that to get the society off the ground. It’s goal is to provide free basic dental services to children and teens whose families cannot afford regular dental care.

Burkett added that it has been the ongoing support from the community that made it possible.

“Without all of your help, ORCCA would never exist,” she told a group of people who filled the cafe at the Canoe Cove Marina.

Recently, the clinic was visited by the Saanich Peninsula Fruitgrowers Association, after they had heard about the program in local media. Burkett said they immediately made a donation — which in turn helped out about “a dozen kids.”

Other organizations like the various Rotary clubs in Sidney have helped outfit the clinic with needed equipment. Burkett added the Town of Sidney has also been very helpful, enabling the society to thrive.

“They’ve been really special to us.”

One of the clinic’s young patients, Paige, thanked ORCCA for its work, and for the dental services she received, helping her overcome her pain.

The clinic, which is open a few days each month — and at least once per week — depending on dentists’ volunteer times, sees young people who have, on average, eight cavities.

Burkett added the society is always in need of dentists who are able to donate their time.

April is Dental Month, Burkett noted, adding there will be local activities in area schools to promote better teeth health among children.

“It does your heart a lot of good, living in a community that can support such a service.”

For more information about ORCCA, visit orccadental.org.

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