I had the awesome opportunity at the end of September to serve at the Iowa Mission of Mercy (IMOM) event in Davenport, IA. For those who have not heard of IMOM, it is a two-day dental clinic that provides free dental care to individuals who may otherwise not have access to a dentist. The barriers faced can be financial limitations or lack of insurance, but also something such as fear preventing regular visits to the dentist.

The great part about how IMOM works is that each year it rotates locations in Iowa. Whether is in Davenport, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City or Des Moines (to name a few), people are able to have access closer to home in a given year. Like any public health clinic, there are limitations to how much can be done and how many can be seen, but the hope is that over the two day span we can help as many people as possible.

While I was able to volunteer as a dental student, the best part about this year was that I was able to share the experience with my wife, Megan. Another great thing about IMOM is that you don’t have to work in dentistry or healthcare at all to volunteer. The phrases “all hands on deck” and “many hands make light work” lend themselves well to the success of IMOM just like so many other great programs for the underserved.

While I was working in the clinic doing dentistry, Megan was escorting patients from area to area and filing paperwork once patients were finished for the day. By the end of our 5-hour shift we were tired, but we were fulfilled. Whenever we’ve spent the better part of a day doing something together we like to debrief—what were the highs and lows for the day? How did this or that make us feel? Would we do it again? As we listened and shared it was quickly apparent that we both enjoyed our day—and equally! We decided that IMOM would become an annual fall tradition in our calendar and we would be intentional about working to be there and serve.

As I close it is that word intentional that really resonates. And as I sit here finishing my breakfast on a Monday morning before heading out to start another week of work I ask myself—What am I going to be intentional about today and this week? Too often it is easy to settle back in to the work week grind and push off things I want to be done as fatigue sets in from the things I feel need to get done. It’s a busy life we lead—I pray to work towards being more intentional through it all. Mark your calendars for IMOM November 6-7 in Des Moines—I hope to see you there.