JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Freddie Woodard says it's been at least 15 years of feeling "ashamed." He says his teeth have been so bad he was embarrassed to open his mouth. But today at the Healing Hands Clinic Freddie got his new teeth.
He looked in the mirror and just beamed. "Thank you, God!" he kept saying.
Freddie knows without dental insurance that the cost for his dental care was out of reach. Even though he's a veteran, he does not have financial help for dentistry.
Healing Hands staff says they have about 20 veterans on the waiting list right now. They say unless a veteran is 100% disabled, dental is not covered.
So Freddie was facing the rest of his life without functioning teeth. His bill from a regular dentist would have been around $5,000.
Volunteer dentist Dr. Dwight Jones says just seeing Freddie smile is worth the volunteer hours he puts in at the clinic.
But the Healing Hands clinic provided both upper and lower teeth for Freddie. Volunteer dentists couldn't save a single one of his teeth. They were all in such bad shape.
Freddie is thrilled. He even got a few tears in his eyes today.
However, the waiting list for Healing Hands dental care topped 500 going into this week. Since just this past Tuesday, dozens more have signed up to try and get free help.
The clinic is too small.
That's why we're doing the Apple Project. We're trying to build a free dental clinic which could serve thousands of people.
If you'd like to donate, anything you'd like to give will be matched up to $100,000 by the Weaver Foundation.