Recycling event will raise funds for kids’ dental van

Vashon’s annual recycling event, which supports dental care for children, will be held this weekend.

Islanders are invited to bring their unwanted items to the collection area at Vashon Plaza this Saturday, where the Seattle-based nonprofit Friendly Earth will take what is collected and recycle or dispose of it responsibly. Financial donations for each load are requested and will be used to fund the Medical Teams International dental van visits for low-income children on Vashon.

Saturday will mark the fourth year for this event and the third in support of dental care for kids. Previous years have brought in roughly $5,000 each, which is the goal for this year, according to Hilary Emmer, one of the event’s organizers and the dental van coordinator. The island benefits from an annual recycle event, she noted, and the kids needing dental care that their families could not otherwise afford benefit as well.

“It’s great because it’s a win-win for everyone,” she said.

The dental van first began visiting Vashon in 2009 and served only adults for two years. In the fall of 2011, after a push from Emmer and with funding from the recycling event, the van began offering six yearly visits for children.

The demand on the island is high for free dental care, Emmer said. In the three clinics for children between September 2012 and February 2013, 27 children received oral exams and had their teeth cleaned. In addition, the dental van’s staff provided needed x-rays, fillings, fluoride treatments and extractions.

Such care comes with a price, however, and each day the van serves the island costs $800, Emmer said. Each month it comes, it stays for two days, with the driver staying overnight to save both time and ferry costs, bringing the monthly bill, with ferry fare, to $1,675.

Currently, the recycling events are the sole source of funding for the children’s clinics. Suggested donations are $5 per car, $10 per truck and $25 for a large load. This year recycling event organizers must pay Friendly Earth’s ferry fees, about $1,000, so extra generosity in making donations will be appreciated, Emmer said. Last year, she noted, Friendly Earth took away 57,000 pounds of unwanted “stuff” from Vashon.

For adults, 16 clinics are offered each year and other funding sources, including Granny’s Attic and the Beardsley Family Foundation, have supported those. Currently, the waiting list is 70 people long, Emmer said.


Recycle hours will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Vashon Plaza, across from the post office.  Bring all appliances, scrap metal, metal furniture, monitors, TVs, all electronics, computers, stereos, car batteries, light or heavy machinery, electric motors, used toner and ink cartridges and circuit boards.

For more information, call co-organizer Lee Ockinga at 463-9328. Checks for the event can be written to the Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness.


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