Freida Carbery, volunteer coordinator for the Healthy Communities Coalition, has seen the hardships faced by those with little access to health care.
"One of the volunteers in the food bank told me she had an abscessed tooth that got so bad, she went into the garage and pulled it herself," Carbery said. "People are hurting. They're taking desperate measures."
The coalition - which serves Lyon, Storey and Mineral counties - is working with more than 100 volunteers and medical professionals to host a free health care outreach event.
The Medical Outreach Response Event on April 13-14 will bring dozens of groups together to offer primary care, dental care and mental health care as well as referrals for those who have no insurance or are underinsured.
Free transportation from Dayton, Hawthorne, Virginia City, Yerington and Fernley will be available to the event at Silver Stage High School.
Carbery said 387 families showed up for the most recent food distribution at Silver Stage.
"The need in the Silver Springs area is tremendous," she said.
A survey of people responding to the offer shows that the greatest need is for dental care, she said.
"One woman said she would just like to be able to smile," Carbery said. "Because of her bad teeth, it was hard for her to get a job. It's hard to go on a job interview if you can't put your best self forward."
Carbery said the uninsured and underinsured families are missing preventative care or are using emergency rooms for their treatment.
Part of the outreach event will be focused on connecting participants to possibilities for health care and nutrition assistance they may not have realized they qualify for, such as Access to HealthCare, veterans' benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, WIC, SNAP, senior citizen coupons for fresh produce, and free or sliding-fee mental health services and alcohol and other drug addiction treatment.
Lions Clubs in Dayton and Silver Springs will provide eye screenings and glasses, Carbery said.
She's hoping to get more volunteers for mobile dental units.
"We're excited about the possibilities," she said.
You can help
To volunteer for the Medical Outreach Response Event, contact Christy McGill or Freida Carbery at Healthy Communities Coalition at (775) 230-4210 or (775) 246-7550. More dentists are needed.
If you need help
Forms to participate in the Medical Outreach Response Event are available at the Dayton Food Pantry, all Lyon County schools and at healthycomm.org.
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