Stories: Gaby Rodriguez

I’d been trying to help “Bill,” a homeless client, get dentures for over a year. He’d had them in the past, but he lives on the streets. One night he’d taken them out to sleep, and awakened the next morning to find them and  other belongings gone. Since then, he hadn’t been able to eat well, since he had no teeth at all. I tried calling Medi-cal to advocate for “Bill” and explain his situation, but the agency’s rules and regulations  barred them from helping. Finally, I became aware that a local dental practice, La Canada Smiles Dentistry, offered pro bono services. Although I wasn’t sure of the extent of services they were able to offer, I went ahead and booked “Bill” for a Saturday morning appointment. I reminded him it was very important that he show up, since this was a private practice offering no-cost services. I needn’t have worried. On Saturday morning, “Bill” arrived at the dental practice at 7:30 a.m. -- two hours early -- and waited patiently to be seen for his scheduled 9:30 appointment. He left the office having been fitted for full dentures. The next Monday afternoon during our food distribution, “Bill” visited my office to thank me profusely. He told me he felt like crying because he would finally be able to eat again – and happily confided that the first thing he planned to enjoy was a steak.