CMEC generosity helps replace mobile dental clinic

Thanks to financial support from community partners, a new mobile dental clinic will soon hit the road. Photo courtesy: Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center

For many in the service area of Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative (CMEC), Mattoon, the mobile dental clinic run by a local hospital meant toothbrushes for their children were no longer luxuries.

Two years ago, the hospital’s dental bus broke down, lessening the number of children receiving free care. But a new bus with state-of-the-art equipment will hit the road soon as the result of Mobile Miracles, a capital campaign supported by CMEC and other community partners. Last year, the co-op and CoBank donated $14,000 toward the campaign’s goal of $600,000 to replace the bus. The co-op gave an additional $1,000 to the foundation’s virtual holiday fundraiser that also raised money for the bus.

“Many of the patients are in our service area, which includes eight surrounding counties,” said Carla Bradbury, CMEC member service and marketing representative.

While the hospital also operates a brick-and-mortar dental program and makes in-school visits, the mobile clinic enables it to reach even more children. At one point, the dental bus visited 66 schools in seven counties and saw as many as 60 to 80 patients each day.

Like in most of the nation’s rural communities, timely, affordable dental care is hard to find in an area where about 20 percent of families live below the poverty line.

The hospital will recognize the CMEC contribution by displaying its name on the back of the new bus, which is set to roll soon.

Source: Victoria A. Rocha, NRECA