Benefit concert to pay for children's dental care

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The Clark-Harrison Circle of King's Daughters and Sons has partnered with Columbia Public Schools to hold a benefit music concert in February. The concert is an effort to defray costs for a program that allows 100-150 students to receive proper dental care.

Clark-Harrison Circle of King's Daughters and Sons is an interdenominational Christian service organization, said member Jerry Harris. The organization is focused on serving others in their community through volunteer work. One of its services includes a dental aid program to help students in Columbia Public Schools.

Since 1974, King's Daughters and Sons has provided between 100 and 150 students in grades K-12, who have no financial resources to cover dental work, the ability to receive such care each year, Harris said. This service is at no cost to the child or the parents, said Harris, who is also the chair of the dental aid board with King's Daughters and Sons.

"We have new patients each year, and we have returning patients," Harris said. "So once you're in our program, we see you every year for a dental recheck."

School nurses help identify students who are suffering from dental issues, said Harris, and notify King's Daughters and Sons which students need dental care. The organization then works with over 50 dentists in the area to get the student scheduled for an appointment. King's Daughters and Sons also provide the transportation to and from the appointment.

"This is primarily done during the school year," Harris said. "If a child is in the Columbia Public School District during the summer and they need help we will provide it. But mostly it's during the school year."

The organization helps students receive fillings, extractions, teeth cleaning, X-rays, root canals and follow-up appointments. The only service that King's Daughters and Sons do not provide is orthodontics, Harris said.

"We're always doing fundraising," Harris said. "Because it does take approximately $30,000 to $35,000 a year to run the program. We do pay the dentists. We do provide antibiotics if the dentists prescribe some."

The concert, Healthy Smiles for Columbia's Children, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 27 at First Baptist Church, 1112 E. Broadway. This is the first time both entities have partnered together for a benefit concert, said Joyce Raines, member of King's Daughters and Sons.

Students of various ages from the Columbia Public Schools will be performing, Raines said.

Tickets are $10 and are currently for sale at all three Hy-Vee locations as well as D&H Drugstore at 1001 W. Broadway, Raines said. For those interested in making donations to the dental aid program, Raines said individuals can mail contributions to Clark-Harrison KD Circle, P.O. Box 1843, Columbia MO, 65205.

All proceeds will go toward the dental aid program.

"We started out by basically filling teeth," Harris said. "Now we do all these other things, and it's really a needed service for the children."

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