DLN has partnered with The New York City Department of Veterans’ Services (NYC-VS) to launch the Stars and Smiles program, a pilot initiative to help New York veterans receive much-needed dental care. NYC-VS was awarded a grant from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and the funds raised will be given back to DLN to support New York veterans in the 5-Buroughs through the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program. This initiative will allow the DDS program to help more people like Mario.
Mario, a veteran and retired police officer living in Manhattan, spends his free time helping neighbors and playing pool at the neighborhood center. Over the years, Mario’s dental health had started to decline and he was unable to afford treatment. Fortunately, Mario’s neighborhood center staff referred him to Dental Lifeline Network’s New York Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, where Dr. Ben Ganjian and two generous labs were able to help restore his oral health.
While thankfully, the DDS program was able to help Mario get his smile back, his situation is a far too common one. Many veterans do not qualify for dental assistance through the VA unless they are 100% disabled, or the need is service-related. Because of this, thousands of veterans are not able to get the dental care they need. The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Stars and Smiles program will allow DLN to address this issue and start bridging the gap in dental services for veterans throughout the U.S.
The Mayor’s Fund is a holiday fundraising appeal where individuals have the option to contribute to a variety of programs. The appeal goes from the beginning of November to December 31.
“We are incredibly grateful to NYC-VS and to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City for this opportunity to fill a major gap in services to veterans in New York,” Fred Leviton, DLN President and CEO, said. “Please consider donating to the Stars and Smiles program and support our volunteer dentists and laboratories who will change and save the lives of those who have served our country so honorably.”
The Stars and Smiles pilot program aims to provide volunteer dental services to 125 veterans in New York City through the DDS program. To donate to the Stars and Smiles program, click here. You will be taken to the main NYC Mayor’s Fund donation page, and can then click on the Stars and Smiles button, which is the second bullet on the drop-down list.