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Local organization helps less fortunate shine bright

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) – Since 2011, a local organization has been helping people get a bright smile.

Park Place Dental Clinic runs off of dedicated volunteers and is only for people who live in Norfolk. The organization's goal is to make it possible for those who cannot afford to get a root canal or even a simple cleaning to still have pearly whites.

"I couldn't afford if it was higher than 25 dollars," said Patient Sonya Howell. "Like I couldn't afford it because I am on a fixed income."

A simple trip to the dentist can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. That's why Park Place Dental Clinic opened its doors.

The clinic is located in a city building, off West 29th Street. It’s only for the homeless, low income and uninsured.

Executive Director, Jennifer Goodwin, says the clinic says busy and is open five days a week.

"Where do they go when they are in dental pain? They go to the ER, but they can't take care of that pain." said Goodwin. "For us we are here to help those who have nowhere else to go."

For only 25 dollars, Park Place Dental Clinic provides teeth cleanings, fillings and extractions.

"The dental provider, hygiene, front and staff coordinators. It is all volunteers. They are our bread and butter here," explained Goodwin.

More than 90 percent of the people working here are volunteers. From resident doctors to the ODU School of Hygiene students, everyone plays a major role.

"Having a patient come to us and say you made me smile again, or I haven’t been able to show my teeth off in years, or the pain is terrible. It makes our day here," Goodwin said.

Patients keep rolling in, but money is always rolling out. The clinic wants to expand its services but says it needs more funding and more people willing to volunteer.

Goodwin explained, "We are always looking for new ways to receive donations, new ways to create partnerships with grants or foundations. Anything goes a long way."

All of the supplies, chairs, and equipment are either donated from other dentists or paid for through grants and donations.You do have to meet financial qualifications to become a patient.

If you are interested in helping the organization, or need help with your teeth, click here.

Want to donate, click here.