International Smile Power, dentists aid Tent City 4 residents

December 20, 2011

By Staff

Issaquah-based International Smile Power and local dentists teamed up last month to brighten Tent City 4 residents’ smiles.

The nonprofit International Smile Power and Dr. Jeffrey Zent, a local dentist, combined resources to treat more than 30 Tent City 4 residents at Zent’s offices. For the Nov. 19 event, 20 dentists, hygienists, assistants and drivers participated to offer the residents dental care at no cost.

“This is the second time we have hosted Tent City 4 and it has been a very rewarding event,” Zent said. “We were able to provide 20 cleanings, 36 fillings, 39 extractions and multiple dentures.”

In the past, providing dentures to Tent City 4 residents posed a challenge, but for the November event, denturist Perry Balcom offered his services. Balcom donated many dentures, and International Smile Power donated others.

“In the past, we have been able to fix broken teeth and get people out of pain,” Zent said. “But this year, we have been able to give people a smile or even just a way to eat with Perry’s dentures. This will have a major impact on their life.”

International Smile Power delivers dental health care, supplies, education and training to underserved people in the United States and around the globe.

How to help

Tent City 4 returned to Community Church of Issaquah, 205 Mountain Park Blvd. S.W., in October. Organizers need help to stock the camp for the Christmas season. Learn more at the Tent City 4 website, http://tentcity4.info.

Tent City 4 also put together a wish list of needed items for the holidays:

  • Antacids
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Canned foods
  • Clean winter clothing in sizes from small to XXXL for men and women
  • Coffee
  • Coffee creamer
  • Cold cereal in large boxes
  • Cold and flu medication
  • Condiments
  • Cough drops
  • Garbage bags in 50-gallon, 33-gallon and 13-gallon sizes
  • Hot cereal in individual packets
  • Hot chocolate
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand warmers
  • Laundry detergent and dryer sheets
  • Milk
  • Paper bowls
  • Paper cups
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Socks
  • Soups
  • Sugar
  • Tea
  • Utensils
  • Zip-top plastic bags in quart and gallon sizes

Organizers spend more than $4,000 per month on bus passes, garbage, portable toilets and other camp necessities. Make checks out to “Community Church of Issaquah” and put “Tent City 4” on the memo line. Mail checks to the church. Contact Doug Hart at 392-4125 or hart.douglas@comcast.net to learn more about funding needs.

Residents settled in the Community Church of Issaquah parking lot Oct. 21. The encampment — home to up to 100 homeless adults — is due to remain on the site until Jan. 21 before relocating to another Eastside house of worship.

The campsite features 24-hour security. Organizers conduct warrant and convicted sex offender checks on potential Tent City 4 residents, and do not admit offenders. The camp bans alcohol, drugs and guns from the premises.

Most residents depart the encampment during the day and head to jobs or to search for employment.

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