D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Friday morning in D'Iberville, Dr. Jeremy Parker and a handful of other dentists proved that the impact of kindness can go a long way.
The group of dentists assisted dozens of people in the community by offering free dental care at Back Bay Family Dentistry.
"I didn't believe it at first," said Manuel Salazar, who learned about the free dental work on television.
Salazar isn't the only one who took a chance on the offer. Dozens waited in line before dawn, hoping for relief.
Many say a fixed income or financial struggles have kept them out of the dentist's chair, and that the event is a huge blessing.
"It's very hard to be able to afford and deal with the pain. It's a lot of pain," said Sybil Bennett.
According to Dr. Parker, it's a blessing to offer the care.
"We're blessed to be able to provide these services for these patients," Parker said.
The event is part of an effort called 'Dentistry from the Heart', started by a Florida dentist in the early 2000s.
Together, with a handful of other dentists and help from the community, Parker hopes to treat as many patients as possible. He says the entire volunteer staff is from the coast.
"This is our day to be able to give back to this community that's given us so much," said Parker.
Throughout the day, several dentists helped treat patients, including Dr. Robby Williams, Dr. Jeff Zimmerman and Dr. Thomas Carter. More than 20 volunteers help move the patients through the dental work and keep them comfortable.
Several volunteers have been helping since the event started.
"It's been a lot of fun. Every year we meet new people, new stories and always heartwarming. I leave with a lot of gratitude and a lot of joy," said Kay Renicks.
Renicks gratitude and joy have been reflected in the hundreds of patients treated over the years.
"I'm absolutely loving it. It's a wonderful thing. Wonderful feeling," said first-time volunteer Pamela Caldwell.
Several donations from the community helped make the day possible. Back Bay Drugs offered to fill prescriptions for free, and food and drinks were donated by Chick-Fil-A, Newk's and Pepe's Bosque. Dental supplies were provided by Henry Schein. Other donations came from the City of D'Iberville and Waste Pro, among others.
Hundreds of patients have been treated, and more than $140,000 worth of work has been donated through the Dentistry from the Heart program in D'Iberville.