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Impact Story

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charleston

Save a Smile Program

The Save A Smile program helps clients in need of dentures, based on a sliding scale fee for those in need of significant dental work to improve the overall health of the client while increasing self-esteem and chances of employment.

About the Organization

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charleston is the social outreach arm of the Catholic Church and provides assistance to low-income individuals to help break the cycle of poverty.

About the Grant

Save A Smile was funded in the spring 2017 grant cycle to serve clients in need of full dentures. The Foundation views dentures as a priority need because they greatly affect a person’s ability to eat healthy, become or stay employed and have a higher quality of life. Dentures are typically cost prohibitive for those with low income.

Why it was Funded

The Foundation highly values organizations that work collectively to identify and address the needs of their community. Catholic Charities collaborated with the Georgetown Human Service Collaborative to determine that dentures were a high need for the low-income patient population that the collaborative member nonprofits, agencies and providers all serve.

In 2016, 18.1% of South Carolinas seniors had no remaining natural teeth.

Project Results

As of May 2018, Save A Smile in Georgetown County has provided dentures to 99 people and another 108 have begun the process to receive dentures.

Ongoing Support

The growth of this program far exceeded expectations, demonstrating high need, and as a result the program will be sustained after the Foundation grant ends thanks to other funding sources. The Save A Smile program will also have a designated administrative staff person to serve this project.