BELLINGHAM - Noel Newby has dental health insurance, but her Medicare supplemental plan sometimes isn't enough.
As a result, the Fairhaven resident has to get a root canal or the most urgent needs taken care of while forgoing regular cleanings, she said.
"Even if you do have dental coverage, a lot of times it's not very good, especially if you're low-income," Newby said Friday, July 27, while waiting for dental care through the one-day Project Homeless Connect.
The fourth annual event brought volunteers and providers together to offer a host of free services to hundreds of homeless and needy people. ("I'm not homeless, I'm just poor as dirt," Newby said.)
Help included a meal, medical and dental care, haircuts and photos, housing and legal assistance, help for veterans, employment information, and clothing and toiletries.
For the first time it was held in one location - at Bellingham High School - instead of being spread over a number of venues in downtown Bellingham.
"Being at Bellingham High School has helped us consolidate our services," said Dan Hammill, one of the event organizers and program director at Whatcom Volunteer Center.
Having the event under one roof helped make it easier for the volunteers, and those seeking services, he added.
Organizers also were seeing more families with children at the event this year because it was moved to summer, Hammill said. It's been held in January and March in previous years.
Among the most sought-after services were haircuts, clothing and obtaining a Washington state ID, as well as dental care.
"Adult dental is one of the most sought-after services because it's very difficult to find in the community," Hammill said. The event offered cleaning, fillings and extractions.
Housing help and legal aid also were in demand, he continued.
As for Newby, she said it was her first time looking for help at Project Homeless Connect.
"I am absolutely amazed" at the variety of services, she said.
Newby praised people coming together to help others and "working together for one good cause."
Reach KIE RELYEA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2234.