POOLER, Ga. (WSAV) – Serrae Miller of Hinesville camped outside of Howard Family Dental in Pooler to make sure she got her teeth cleaned today.
“I got here around 10:30, 11 o’clock [the night before],” said Miller. “We need everything that is here and we’re just really happy that everything that we need is free and it’s right here.”
Miller and her friend slept overnight to take part in the dental office’s annual Free Dental Day. The first 250 people could get either free cleanings, fillings or extractions.
For those without health insurance, like Miller, this event is a lifesaver.
“Not a lot of people do it, so it’s really kind and thoughtful for them to do it,” said Miller.
Dr. Julie Howard, one of the co-founders of Howard Family Dental, says the goal of this day was always to help and give back to the community during the holiday season.
“When the economy turned, which was 11 years ago, we had so many patients that lost their insurance and therefore they lost their access to care,” said Dr. Howard. “And so today is their opportunity for us to help break down that barrier.”
Now in its 11th year, Free Dental Day has grown and expanded the resources being provided for the community.
This year, St. Joseph’s/Candler Mobile Mammography and the Chatham County Health Department Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) provided free mammograms for qualified women.
Also in attendance was America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia and Walgreens to provide other services for the community.
“They do mammograms, they give you the flu shot, they test your heart rate and [other] stuff,” said Miller. “This is awesome because we needed all of that stuff.”
At the end of the day, Howard Family Dental says the gratitude they get from those in the community makes it all worth it.
“We want to continue to grow that opportunity with community partners because the more people we can help, the more people we can share that piece of joy,” said Dr. Howard. “That’s really our ultimate goal.”