2020 Year-End Holiday Newsletter
In this newsletter:
Reopening VINA
The Tailgate
Victors for Veterans
2020 Accomplishments
How You Can Help
Patient Stories
Update & Holiday Letter
Reopening VINA
After closing the clinic except for emergencies, VINA was able to open back up in
mid-August. With the arrival of air purifiers, we can safely see hygiene patients again.
The health of our staff, volunteers and patients is our top priority.

Some important COVID changes in the clinic include:

  • Air purifiers in the clinic and waiting room;
  • Masks required at all times (except for when you're in the chair);
  • Temperature checks & screening questions for patients, volunteers and staff;
  • Patients wait in their vehicle until their chair is ready;
  • No companions allowed in during appointments (except for translators);
  • Sneeze guards and hand sanitizer at the front desk;
  • Procedures in the event a patient, volunteer or staff member tests positive.

We continue to monitor recommendations from the American Dental Association (ADA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) to update protocols. We ask that anyone who enters the building adheres to the rules in place for the health and safety of our community!
The Tailgate
This year, The Tailgate went virtual for a three-week long silent auction with mini contests, videos and updates on social media. Thank you to everyone who helped make The Tailgate successful!

The winner of the 2020 Tailgate is the same as the winner on the field,
Michigan State!

This puts them ahead of Michigan
for VINA Tailgates 7-5.

This year, the Spartans claim the added prize of having an MSU canopy outside of the clinic all winter! This canopy is needed to protect our patients, staff and volunteers from the Michigan winter during our COVID screening process.

We would like to extend another very big “thank you” to all sponsors, bidders, donors and volunteers. We could not do this without all the continual support from our community!
Victors for Veterans
In the end of October, VINA kicked off the Victors for Veterans program in partnership
with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. The program provides free, comprehensive dental care to veterans in a seven-county area.

Twice a month, VINA hosts University of Michigan School of Dentistry faculty
and students who volunteer their time and services to support veterans by
providing free dental care and education. We are grateful and excited for the
opportunity to thank the brave men and women who served our country.

For more information about the Victors for Veterans program, please call VINA at
(810) 844-0240 or Veteran’s Advocate Navigator Lori Gurke at (800) 833-3865.
Patients must be screened and deemed eligible before scheduling an appointment.
2020 Accomplishments
  • VINA acquired the necessary PPE and implemented new procedures to fully reopen safely during the COVID-19 pandemic (air purifiers pictured);
  • VINA saw a 15% increase in patients from September and October 2020 compared to 2019 and expect this trend to continue;
  • Beginning in January 2021, VINA will double the number of hygiene appointments with University of Michigan senior hygienists. This continues to establish VINA as a dental home for our patients;
  • The Victors for Veterans program began in late October and is very successful, booking full schedules of patients twice a month;
  • VINA quickly regained patient volume after shutting down due to COVID-19. VINA saw more than 800 patients in 2020, right on track with recent growth taking into account the near half-year closure due to COVID-19;
  • VINA is continuing to increase patient appointments as we catch up on the five-month-long hygiene appointment backlog;
  • VINA secured funding from numerous grants for the Prevention Incentive Program and Emergency Dental Program, both of which enhance our abilities to serve our patients.
How You Can Help
VINA would not be successful without the help of our loyal supporters and community. There are many opportunities to support VINA if you aren’t already. Help VINA by:

Volunteering. You can help at the front desk greeting patients, answering phones and helping with patient screenings. Our need for front desk volunteers is high right now, as some of our regular volunteers head south during the winter. We are always thrilled to have volunteer dentists and hygienists, even if you only have time to help out once a month.

Getting involved. There are many ways to get involved in all of VINA's different fundraisers and events. Simply participating in fundraisers or going the extra step and donating items for silent auctions or helping reach out to local businesses can make a world of difference.

Donating. Donors are a huge part of VINA. When you get that email or letter asking you to give, consider the difference you can make in your community by supporting VINA. You can set up a monthly donation or donate through our website with the “Donate” button.

Spread the word. Tell the people in your life about VINA. They could be potential patients, donors or volunteers. Telling others about VINA is a simple, virtually effortless way to
show your support for VINA while helping to grow our supporters.

Shopping. You can support VINA every time you go to Kroger or order from Amazon. To learn how to enroll in these programs to support VINA while you shop, find instructions here.
Click a present to read a patient's story
2020 Update & Holiday Appeal
OK, admit it, you’re glad 2020 is nearly over. I won’t rehash for you the litany of 2020 events that made this year one of the most stressful of our lives, but I will recap the VINA highlights.”

We started 2020 with such high hopes: increasing patient visits, grants supporting preventive programs, a dynamic new staff dentist, a Spring Gala all gussied up and ready to roll…then, COVID-19 happened. The following week we were shut down for all but emergencies.

Highlights (actually lowlights) of 2020:
  • Shut down for all but emergencies for five months;
  • Spring Gala as virtual auction instead of in-person event and a cancelled Golf Classic, reducing VINA revenue;
  • Reopened in mid-August, with significant investment in air purifiers, new equipment, PPE and supplies to guarantee safety totaling nearly $10,000;
  • Tailgate Event as a virtual auction, raising one-half of the amount of last year’s event (but a BIG thank you to the Fundraising Committee for making it happen at all!);
  • The final blow – two X-ray heads and an X-ray processor go out, leading to $8,500 additional expenditures.

Actual Highlights (where we are now):
  • We are back open at full speed, with the number of appointments up by 15% for September and October compared to 2019;
  • Collaborated with U of M Dental School on Victors for Veterans, a new comprehensive dental program for veterans in need;
  • We are making progress in catching up the five month hygiene appointment backlog;
  • Our team of paid staff and volunteers is the best we’ve had in years and the future of VINA is bright as a beacon of care for limited income adults in Livingston County who could not otherwise afford dental care.

EXCEPT… We need your help. Fundraising events are down considerably from 2019 (nearly $45,000) and although grants are up and covering much of the PPE and Preventive Hygiene Programs, we will see a significant shortfall in overall income for 2020, heading into 2021.

We are asking you, our donors, to give what you can this holiday season. We know things are rough economically for many of you, but we also know that some of us still have the means and the heart to give this year. We continue to experience an influx of new patients as the economy takes its toll on those families living on the edge and we expect that to continue. We have been able to weather uncertain times in the past and we will weather this as well.

Please prayerfully consider our mission and use the form below to make this year’s holiday gift to VINA. The volunteers and staff at VINA and the thousands of our neighbors we serve thank you for your support.

Blessings to you and your family,
Jim Gilmore
We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and safe holiday season this year! We hope you have a holiday season filled with joy and smiles. Thank you for all you do for VINA, we appreciate your continual support.
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