First grader Jesse Hao gets a teeth cleaning Saturday
Knox County students will return to school next week, and Saturday many families got the supplies and health resources they needed to start the year off right.
Western Heights Dental teamed up with Remote Area Medical (RAM) to provide the services. RAM volunteers are known for traveling far distances to deliver health care to people in need, but organizers say it is important to recognize local needs, too.
"When we were asked by the folks at Western, we gladly accepted the offer to come over and to work with them," said Ron Brewer, RAM Director.
Brewer also wanted an opportunity to work with children, which are often an under-served population.
"At a normal RAM clinic we see less than two percent of the population that comes to the clinic are children. Here, we're glad it's 100 percent children," he said.
Western Heights organizers say children miss too many hours each year due to dental-related illnesses.
"So we have to come out here and teach parents and teach children the importance of oral health, which affects overall health," said Sherra Robinson, Outreach Coordinator.
"Everybody, regardless of insurance status, will receive a cleaning and exam," she added, and explained each patient will also have access to follow up care with a dental professional.
Western Heights provided additional health booths. Students had access to free haircuts, school supplies, and backpacks.
"We see a need in the community and we want to fill that need in the community. We want to bring the services to the community," Robinson said.