After 18 years, free dental clinic on LA's skid row no more

As those associated with Catholic Workers know, their ministries are in a constant state of flux.

The nightly meal may have to be canceled for lack of donations. The morning coffee may have to be changed to tea because the beans didn't show up. Distribution of bus passes or prescription vouchers may have to stop when there's just no more money.

The basic operating motto almost seems to be: Take advantage today, everything could change tomorrow.

Yet, even knowing the precariousness of it all, there must be a certain sadness to this bit of news:

After 18 years of ministry at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker in LA's skid row, a free dental clinic there is shutting down. It's dentist, who retired 12 years ago, says he needs to take care of his wife.

An article in the LA's archdiocesan newspaper, The Tidings, describes what will be lost when this volunteer leaves his post:

Explore this NCR special report with recent articles on the topic of immigration and family separation.

Ann Boden, a volunteer from Sylmar, often works the reception counter at the dental clinic on Fridays, handing out aspirin, anti-acids, vitamins and feminine products. She points out that all members of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker are patients of Meehan, so they're losing their dentist, too.

"Oh, he's wonderful. The patients love him," she says. "And he's filling a real need. For many of the people who come here, it's the only dental work they get. Sometimes we have 18 patients vying for eight spots. He could probably work fulltime here and still have patients waiting for him."

Take a read for the rest. It's an incredible story.

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