After a four-year absence, the Illinois State Dental Society Foundation Mercy Mission is back to provide dental care to those in need.
The return of one of Illinois’ most important health care charity events takes place this week, with thousands of people expected to receive the dental care they need in Rockford from across the region and at across state borders.
The Illinois State Dental Society Foundation is restarting its Mission of Mercy event this summer after a four-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation has been the charitable arm of the organization representing dentists since 1865.
The event, held every two summers and last held in Springfield in 2018, brings together more than 1,000 volunteer dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental students, and lay volunteers from across Illinois.
During two days of intensive care, approximately 2,000 patients will receive approximately $1 million in free dental care – ranging from cleanings and fillings to extractions and partial dentures, all based on each patient’s needs. All services are provided by licensed dental professionals who volunteer their time over the two days to help others.
The event is scheduled for this Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23 at the UW Health Sports Factory at 305 S. Madison St. in Rockford. Doors open both days at 6 a.m. and all treatments are offered on a first-come, first-served basis (no appointments required). The organizers are preparing the event on Thursday, July 21.
The ISDS Foundation established the biennial Mercy Mission in 2010 to provide care to those who otherwise could not afford or access it, with a high priority for patients with dental infections and pain. Patients receiving treatment during the two-day event learn the importance of good daily oral hygiene practices, healthy eating and routine preventive dental care, and the event reminds the public of the huge critical dental care needs in the host city and surrounding region.
More than 1,000 volunteers in various roles are needed to make sure everything runs smoothly, and this week 830 of those slots have been filled. The Foundation could always use volunteers, especially those who serve as patient ambassadors who guide patients through the process as they seek treatment.
Learn more about the event on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/530944988252777. And sign up to volunteer here: https://www.rsvpbook.com/event.php?579332&579332=.
U.S. Army veterans receive priority care through the Veterans First program, including an installation day medical screening on Thursday, July 21 and priority clinic entry on Friday.
All patients will be required to wear masks as part of the standard COVID-19 protocols in place in dental offices.
More information about the history of the event, questions and answers for patients, and other helpful information can be found on the ISDS Foundation’s Mission of Mercy website: https://www.isds.org/ foundation/events/mission-of-mercy.
“We are thrilled to see months of planning and preparation come together in Rockford to make Mission of Mercy’s return our best yet,” said Dr. Tom Sullivan, ISDS Foundation President and event organizer. .
“We encourage anyone who has not received proper dental care during the pandemic to arrive early and visit us on event days, and we appreciate anyone who can help us join us as volunteers at the approach of the event. We look forward to two great days of giving back to the people of Rockford and area.
Please read the detailed Mission of Mercy media toolkit below for more information on the event and what to expect on event days.