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Sandy volunteers provide dental care and more

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: RACHEL DROULLARD - One of 100 guests receives dental work Saturday during Compassion Sandy. The equipment was  provided by Mt. Hood Community College.A fresh wave of volunteerism called “Compassion Sandy” was introduced Sept. 15 at the old Sandy High School campus, led and funded by 10 local churches as well as businesses and individuals.

The idea was inspired by two young men in the Rockwood area seven years ago. Since then it has spread to more than 15 events held throughout the year all over the Portland area and as far away as Arizona, Sacramento and Yakima, Wash. It is grassroots people who have a vision to “Do What Jesus Did” by offering service that meets basic needs.

In Sandy, more than 300 volunteers assisted with tooth extractions, fillings and making individual false teeth, along with medical treatment, chiropractic adjustments and foot care for people who have limited or no access to dental or health care. Volunteers also greeted, welcomed, prayed, served food, cared for children, directed traffic, moved equipment and cleaned up.

Guests started lining up at the old high school at 5 a.m. to make sure they didn’t miss getting one of the 100 dental or 85 medical appointments. While waiting, they could take advantage of other free walk-in services such as 10-minute massages, foot care, haircuts and a social service fair of 25 exhibitors ranging from immigration assistance and local legal services to police and fire department safety tips.

The Gresham Baptist Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen served 450 lunches, and coffee and doughnuts were provided by the Salvation Army Canteen Truck. A “Kids Zone” was available all day for guests and volunteers with activities, crafts, lunch and stories.

One man came with a mouthful of misery and left with a new smile. Another young family with five children got teeth filled and flu shots for all. A woman who had been limping for months was able to walk without pain after foot care and a podiatrist’s treatment.

Volunteers ranging in age from 6 to over 70 arrived full of expectation to meet and serve their neighbors in Sandy and the surrounding area and went home tired but satisfied that they made a difference in many people’s lives. They said they were gung ho to “do it again next year.”