Austin/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on April 17, 2024
Austin's Manos de Cristo Tackles Dental Care Affordability, Supports 30,000 Central Texans AnnuallySource: Google Street View

In the heart of Austin, a beacon of relief shines for Central Texans struggling to afford dental care. Manos de Cristo, a non-profit dedicated to providing essential services to the underserved, serves as a lifeline for thousands, offering more than just a quick fix but a chance for dignity through a smile. As KXAN reports, the organization sees roughly 15,000 dental appointments annually, contributing to a broader outreach that touches some 30,000 lives each year.

Financial barriers often push dental care to the back burner, with 92% of Americans considering postponing such services due to cost, a survey revealed. Manos de Cristo strives to counter this trend by offering an array of affordable services, including X-rays, cavity fillings, and even dental implants. Executive Director Julie Ballesteros emphasized the human element behind the numbers, telling KXAN, "It's about dignity...We want our patients to smile." However, the man behind the non-profit's mission is the sense of community and the donations that keep the operation afloat.

Manos de Cristo couldn't always support the needs of a growing community. Starting 36 years ago on Cesar Chavez Street after an observant pastor noted people in dire need of dental care, the clinic moved to a larger space in North Austin and expanded its offerings. Besides dental services, Manos de Cristo also provides education in English as a second language, computer literacy, and citizenship classes, as per KVUE's coverage.

The environment within Manos de Cristo's facilities is one of welcome and warmth. "Everyone is Welcomed Here," a sign next to the lobby reads, and for good reasons as reported by KVUE. Patients like Charm Carlin, a mother of two without insurance, have found an affordable haven for dental care at the non-profit. The services extend beyond just teeth, offering a food pantry and virtual educational classes. With an upcoming annual fundraiser gala highlighted by KVUE, the community has a fresh opportunity to dig deep and support the cause.

Manos de Cristo's importance can't be understated, especially with the high demand for citizenship classes signaling a community eager to engage and contribute. Ballesteros noted the critical role of the non-profit, stressing that Manos de Cristo is there to facilitate the journey toward citizenship for eligible individuals. As the fundraiser looms, Manos de Cristo isn't just asking for donations but inviting locals to become volunteers and part of the larger effort to aid their neighbors in need.