(picture to the left: 2011 Give Kids a Smile Event)
During the week of March 12-16, Drs. Jeremy Lewis, Jamie Melzer Sr., Bryan Parker, Drew Whitford, Matthew Payne, and Robert Payne, partnered with the Florida Baptist Mobile Dental Unit to provide approximately $24,000 in care to 54 people in the Jackson County. Nine volunteers partook in the event, handing out dental kits and providing counseling.
Dr. Robert Payne has been working with this Florida Baptist Mobile Dental Unit since 1979 and says approximately 6 months of planning goes into each stop, including the coordination of dentists and patients, preparation of dental kits, and organizing volunteers, including the bus couple, Bobby and Pam Hutchison. The Hutchisons’ are one of four couples in Florida that help drive and manage the Baptist Bus while it’s in the panhandle. Bob Hutchinson is the Captain of the Fire Department in Milton, FL, while his wife Pam is the Secretary for the Santa Rosa Baptist Association. They take their vacation time to travel around the area to participate in events geared towards dental care.
The Florida Baptist Dental Mobile Bus has been in existence since the mid-70s and gets major funding from the Southern Baptist Convention and Florida Baptist Convention. The current bus, commissioned in 1998, currently holds two operatories and is in commission for 40wks of the year to provide and preventative restorative dental care. During these weeks, the bus travels throughout the state of Florida. In 2011 the Dental Unit saw 2,300 patients, had 207 volunteer dentists, and provided approximately $703,000 in dental care. They are a member of Project: Dentists Care.