An event this weekend will provide essential funds for a local dental clinic that supports the county’s uninsured residents.

VINA Community Dental Center’s annual Spring Gala is coming back this Saturday, March 23rd at Lakelands Golf & Country Club in Hamburg Township. The Spring Gala, along with VINA’s annual golf outing and fall tailgate serves as an important fundraiser for helping with the dental needs of Livingston County residents.

Director of Marketing and Development for VINA, Jim Gilmore, says they’ve recently seen a shift in the client base. He said they use to be around 75% limited income adults, and 25% senior citizens, but over the four past years those numbers have come closer to 50-50. He speculates that part of that is because of improved employment options for the limited income adults, and the other part being senior citizens living off of fixed income.

Gilmore estimates that there may be as many as 21,500 residents who qualify for their services. To qualify, patients must be a Livingston County resident, have a limited income of 225% of the federal poverty level (roughly $27,300 for an individual or $56,500 for a family of four), and must not have dental insurance.

To meet the needs of the growing base they have increased their capacity and have 4th-year University of Michigan dental students coming in a couple days each week. Gilmore says their waiting list for an appointment is shorter than usual and all visits cost only $25.

Saturday's Spring Gala event will run from 6:30 until 10pm and feature food, an open bar, live music, a jewelry raffle, a lottery raffle, a wine pull, a silent auction and more. Cost to attend is $125 per person. Tickets are available online by visiting their website through the link below. (MK)