Fundraising drive to benefit a new Englewood dental clinic

A fundraising drive is underway to build a dental clinic and to expand behavioral health, nutrition and wellness programs for residents living in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.The Beloved Community Family Wellness Center, which is spearheading the project, has set a goal of raising $1.1 million by year-end, and so far has raised $937,000, according to Paul Williams, board chairman of the wellness center. Unexpected construction costs in 2014 temporarily halted the project.We must secure the additional funds before we will be allowed to access the $937,000 already secured, added Williams. We have until the end of the year to raise the necessary dollars to move forward or jeopardize losing all the funding for the project.A victory celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the wellness center, 6821 S. Halsted St., and all donors will be recognized at the event.According to Williams, the dental clinic will provide dental care to 500 people and result in an additional 2,500 medical and behavioral health patients. And a community quilt representing all contributors will be on permanent display in the clinic once it is built.We recognize that all community representatives have a vested interest in sustaining a healthy community and the quilt will be a reminder of the good works that can be accomplished through effective stakeholder collaboration and support, said Williams.He added that the Englewood community is deprived of affordable dental care, behavioral health and nutritional programs due to limited and or no programs available, said Margie Johnson, executive director of the wellness center.Oral health problems can be early signs of and even lead to other types of serious diseases. Untreated oral health conditions can cause disfiguring tooth loss and - - decay that can limit employment options and lower self-esteem, she said. (And) while regular dental care can prevent and treat many oral health problems, financial barriers pose significant dental access problems for many of our low-income families.For more information about the dental clinic or to make a donation, call Karen Owens at 773-651-3828. href='' - -