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Volunteers Needed to Help Provide $1 Million in Free Dental Care July 22-23 in Rockford

After a four-year absence, the Illinois State Dental Society Foundation’s Mission of Mercy is back to provide dental care to those in need.

ROCKFORD – One of Illinois’ most important and unique charitable health care events is coming this summer to northern Illinois, and organizers need your help to make it a success.

The Illinois State Dental Society Foundation – the charitable arm of the organization representing dentists and their clinics in public policy since 1865 – is once again providing its Mission of Mercy event after a four-year absence from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event, conducted every other summer and last held in Springfield in 2018, brings together more than 1,000 volunteer dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental students and lay volunteers from across Illinois.

Over two days of intense care, about 2,000 patients will receive about $1 million in free dental care – everything from cleanings and fillings to extractions and partial dentures, all based on the individual patient’s needs. All services are provided by licensed dental professionals donating their time over the two days to help others.

The event is set for Friday, July 22, and Saturday, July 23, at the UW Health Sports Factory at 305 S. Madison St. in Rockford. Doors open both days at 6 a.m., and all care is provided on a first-come, first-served basis (no appointments). Organizers will set up for the event on Thursday, July 21.

The ISDS Foundation created the biannual Mission of Mercy in 2010 to provide care for those who otherwise could not afford or access it, with a high priority on patients suffering from dental infection and pain. Patients receiving treatment during the two-day event are taught the importance of good daily oral hygiene practices, healthy diet and routine preventative dental care, and the event serves a strong public reminder of the tremendous needs for critical dental care in the host city and around the region.

With more than two months to go before the event, organizers now need to reach more than 1,000 volunteers in various roles to ensure everything goes smoothly. Hundreds more volunteers are needed, especially to serve as patient ambassadors who guide patients throughout the process on the day they come.

Learn more about the event at its Facebook page: And sign up to volunteer here:

Veterans of the U.S. military receive priority care through the Veterans First program, including medical screening on setup day Thursday, July 21, and priority entry to the clinic on Friday.

All patients will be required to wear masks as part of standard COVID-19 protocols in place in dental offices.

More about the event’s history, questions and answers for patients and other helpful information is available at the ISDS Foundation’s Mission of Mercy website:

“It takes months of planning and many people working together to make Mission of Mercy a success, but every time we do this, I am amazed at the results. We are changing so many lives just by taking time to see them for that aching tooth or provide that cleaning they desperately need,” said Dr. Tom Sullivan, ISDS Foundation President and an event organizer.

“We expect there might be extra demand this year after COVID-19 meant we could not bring everyone together in 2020. That’s why it’s so important we have 1,000 or more volunteers on site in late July to help. Please consider joining us to give back to those in need. The smiles on people’s faces after treatment makes all of the work leading up to the event so worth it.”

The ISDS Foundation will share more details, including opportunities for media interviews and site visits, as the July 22-23 event nears. Please read through the detailed Mission of Mercy media kit for more information on the event and what to expect on the event days.