Giving kids a Valentine’s Day smile

Uninsured children from throughout the Columbia River Gorge will be all smiles on Valentine’s Day, but their grins won’t necessarily be from eating lots of heart-shaped sugary treats.

Instead, they are being “treated” to free medical and dental care by One Community Health, which is participating in national Give Kids a Smile day.

From 8 a.m. to noon on Feb. 14, families will be able to obtain a variety of services at The Dalles center, 1040 Webber Street, or the facility in Hood River, 849 Pacific Avenue.

Appointments must be made in advance by calling 541-386-6380.

“This one-day event is all about treating patients to dental and medical care with heart,” said Dave Edwards, chief executive officer for One Community Health.

“We’re pretty excited to celebrate Give Kids a Smile day on Valentine’s Day this year. It will add to the already festive spirit of the day, while paying tribute to our purpose, which is rooted in compassionate dental and health care for all members of our community.”

Services provided Feb. 14 include:

• Well-child checkups.

• Basic health appointments.

• Dental exams, x-rays, cleanings and restorative services.

• Immunization assessments.

• Development screenings.

• Assistance with enrolling in the Oregon Health Plan and Apple Health.

“We’re really hoping for a great turnout this year,” said Edwards. “Those of us who work at OCH always love this event because there’s such a sincere feeling of gratitude in the air. Patients are grateful for the free, quality health and dental care.

“Meanwhile, we are grateful for the opportunity to give back to our community and contribute to the expanding footprint of wellness in the gorge.”

Give Kids A Smile is an American Dental Association Foundation program that takes place during National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Last year, 16 local, underserved, uninsured teenagers received more than $10,000 in dental services alone at OCH.

For the 2017 event, OCH expects to serve even more youth, thanks to its expanded access to medical and dental health care.

OCH is a nonprofit, federally-funded health center that serves more than 11,000 clients in the Mid-Columbia region. Formerly known as La Clinica del Carino Family Health Care Center, Inc., it was founded in 1986 to provide direct services and educational programs.

For more information visit www.onecommunity health.org.

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