BP and local Roadrunner Markets on Tuesday presented a $15,000 donation to Keystone Dental Care, the nonprofit dental clinic for the poor and uninsured that is struggling to make up the loss of about $140,000 in grant funding.
“This is just a wonderful and much-needed gift,” Keystone Dental Care Executive Director Lisa Eggers, said. “In 2012 we treated more than 2,000 patients who otherwise could not afford dental care and this gift will allow us to continue helping those in need.”
Ryan Broyles, Roadrunner Markets president, said $12,500 of the donation came from the “BP Fueling Communities” grant program and the remaining $2,500 from Roadrunner.
“Each year we try to choose a charity that is making a difference in this community, and we know Keystone Dental Care is,” Broyles said. “BP Fueling Communities gives us money to find a local organization in our community to help. And we feel it is important for us to give to our community because these are our customers.”
Last year Roadrunner selected the Crumley House brain injury rehabilitation center in Limestone to receive the grant and Broyles said the timing of this year’s grant was perfect for Keystone.
“They help people who are homeless, elderly, down on their luck and trying to get back on their feet and back in the work force. They really need dental volunteers and money to help them provide these services. We’re trying to help them get the word out because if people knew what they do down here, I think they would see the value and they would volunteer and give money to help,” he said.
Now in its 13th year, Keystone Dental Care provides services to people in Northeast Tennessee ranging from basic fillings and cleanings to multiple extractions needed to stop infections and debilitating pain. In the past year, the clinic has provided more than $30,000 in potentially lifesaving treatment to people who were newly diagnosed with cancer and unable to begin cancer treatments because of infections in their gums and teeth.
Also in the past year, the clinic lost about $140,000 in funding, which resulted in a significant reduction in its hours of operation and its inability to accept new patients other than those referred by other nonprofit organizations, including Downtown Clinic, the Regional Cancer Treatment Center at Johnson City Medical Center and domestic violence shelters across the region.
“We have gone from a full-time dentist five days a week to all- volunteer dentists one day a week. We need more volunteers and we really need community support because the need has not diminished,” Kathy Smith, a member of Keystone’s board of directors said.
More information about the clinic is available online at www.keystonedentalcare.com or may be obtained by calling 232-7919.