General Volunteer FAQs

Mission of Mercy: General Volunteer FAQs

The Minnesota Dental Association and the Michigan Dental Foundation have partnered to host the 2018 Mission of Mercy project; a special statewide dental access program to be held September 7-8, 2018, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in downtown Minneapolis. The Mission of Mercy will represent Minnesota dentistry’s largest free dental clinic event to date.

Dr. Alejandro Aguirre, is serving as chair of the 2018 Mission of Mercy event. The Minnesota Dental Foundation welcomes individuals who have a passion for dentistry and caring for the underserved, to volunteer for this important project.

Many other state dental associations and foundations have similar Mission of Mercy events. Find more information at the Americas Dentists Care Foundation website.

1. What is a Mission of Mercy?

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A Mission of Mercy (MOM) is a 150-chair dental clinic with portable dental stations set up in a large public arena. Dental screenings and services are provided on a first-come first-served basis, at no charge to those who attend. MOM combines the donated services of hundreds of dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental laboratory technicians and an array of volunteers to provide these free dental services.

Patients will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis with hundreds of patients typically lining up outside the night before. Care will be provided to adults and children. Dental services that will be provided include: gross debridement and prophylaxis, amalgams, composites, extractions, limited endodontics, treatment partials and limited CEREC crowns. Services not provided are implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, molar endodontics and 3rd molar extractions.

2. Why volunteer for the MDA Mission of Mercy?

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Volunteering at the MnMOM provides a sense of commitment and service with ourselves, our communities and our state. It is a soul satisfying experience because it comes from the goodness of your own heart, with no expectation of receiving anything in return. Your service to the MnMOM event also highlights the continued problem of access to care to the citizens, Legislature and leaders of Minnesota.

3. When and where is the event being held?

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Clinic Dates: September 7-8, 2018
Set up: September 6, 2018
Teardown: September 8, 2018 (immediately following clinic closing)

Minneapolis Convention Center
1301 2nd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Google Map/Directions


By Car
From the West (I-94)
Take the 4th Street exit from I-94 and proceed to 2nd Avenue South. (Do NOT turn right onto 2nd Avenue North.) Turn right on 2nd Avenue South and go 8 blocks to Convention Center.

From the West (I-394)
Take Downtown exit (12th Street): follow 12th Street South to 2nd Avenue South and turn right. The Convention Center is on your left.

From the East (I-94)
Take the 11th Street exit: follow 11th Street South until you reach 2nd Avenue South, turn left onto 2nd Avenue South and cross 12th Street South. The Convention Center is on your left. The Underground Plaza Parking Ramp is on your right.

From the South (I-35W)
Follow downtown exit signs to the 11th Street exit and follow 11th Street to 2nd Avenue South. Turn left on 2nd Avenue South and go 1 block to Convention Center.

From the North (I-35W)
Take I-35W to Hwy 280. Follow Hwy 280 to I-94 west. Follow I-94 to the 11th Street exit (NOT 11th Avenue exit). Follow 11th Street to 2nd Avenue South. Turn left on 2nd Avenue South and go 1 block to the Convention Center.

For downtown Minneapolis construction updates, check out the city’s Web site: construction updates. For traffic and road conditions in the metro area, visit the 511 Traffic & Road Conditions page.

By Bus
Metro Transit Trip Planner Buses and taxis are readily available at the MCC, the airport, Mall of America and at most hotels. Use Metro Transit’s Trip Planner for easy door-to-door directions for buses and light-rail trains.

Take a “Free Ride” on the Bus
Free bus rides are available on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis and to and from the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC). This gives you an easy way to go from one end of town to the other – for free! The free service on selected routes between Grant Street and Washington Avenue is offered on buses marked “Free Ride.” Other buses on Nicollet – and all within the Downtown Zone – charge 50¢. Free-ride buses leave every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 15 to 30 minutes on weekends. Buses on Nicollet stop every other block between 5th and 13th Streets.

Detailed information on patient parking will be updated soon. Please check back!

4. I am not a dental health care professional – what can I do at the Minnesota Mission of Mercy?

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There are many positions available to general volunteers. Interact with patients by being a patient ambassador, in registration, translation services, waiting room coordinator, exit interview, patient greeter. You can also work behind the scenes in data processing, food and beverage service, maintenance, or parking.

5. I have difficulty in standing and walking for extended periods of time. Will I still be able to volunteer?

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Absolutely, we have a limited number of volunteer positions which can be performed while sitting. Please let us know of any concerns you have on your registration application and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. If we are unable to fulfill your request or you find you are unable to perform your assigned duties, just let us know and we will see where we can utilize your talents and contributions.

6. Is there a minimum age for volunteers?

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In order to assure everyone’s safety, all volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.

7. If there a local hotel you recommend?

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Room blocks have been reserved at the following hotels in Minneapolis. Be sure to mention the group codes to receive the special rates.

Hilton Garden Inn
Minneapolis Downtown
Rate: $99
Group Code: MDA
1101 4th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Hilton Minneapolis
Rate: $139
Mention: 2018 Mission of Mercy
1001 Marquette Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403

8. Will there be designated parking for volunteers?

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Detailed information on volunteer parking will be updated soon. Please check back!

9. What should I expect at the Mission of Mercy?

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The Minneapolis Convention Center will be set up as a portable dental clinic with the anticipation of seeing 1000 patients per day for the two-day clinic. Add to that approximately 1,200 volunteers and you have a Mission of Mercy.

As patients register they will be asked to complete a form for basic demographic information and their health history. The form will be used for triage and to record patient treatment information. Patients will be treated based in their most urgent needs, with infection control and pain elimination as the first priority.
The clinic will be divided into several areas: Registration, Medical and Dental Triage, Radiography, Hygiene, Restorative, Pediatrics, Endodontics, Oral Surgery, Prosthodontics and Lab, Pharmacy and Patient Education. In addition, there are support areas such as Sterilization, Dental Supplies, Volunteer Registration, Data Processing, Hospitality as well as Food and Beverage.

A dental clinic with 150 portable dental chairs, lights and units will be set up to treat patients. The chairs will recline and the units will have access to water and suction. Given space restraints, each dentist will be able to have one dental assistant.

Children 12 and under will be treated in the pediatric clinic area.

In addition to receiving needed dental treatment, MOM patients learn the importance of good daily oral hygiene practices, healthy diet and routine preventive dental care. They learn about the negative effects of pop, sugary beverages and tobacco products, the link between dental health and overall health, oral cancer and more.

11. How do I provide my employer with proof that I volunteered for the MnMOM

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After the event we’ll send out a thank you confirmation email listing your hours of volunteering.

12. What should I wear?

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Dress comfortably. You will be doing a lot of walking or standing on a concrete floor, so comfortable, closed-toe shoes are a must.

Clinical volunteers will receive a scrub top, and non-clinical volunteers a T-shirt. Please wear the shirts provided so you can be easily identified as a volunteer. You can wear pants, jeans, shorts or skirts – whichever you prefer. Shorts and skirts should be of a length that is appropriate for a professional atmosphere, family setting and shows respect for patients.

Every effort is made to maintain a comfortable inside temperature, but it is next to impossible for it to be comfortable for everyone in such a large group. Therefore, you may choose to wear layers under the volunteer scrub top or t-shirt provided or a sweater or jacket that allows your volunteer shirt to show. Having the option to change into shorts and/or pants is also a good idea.

13. Will there be food available for volunteers?

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A light breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided for volunteers onsite in a break room away from the clinic floor. Because some of the food is donated we can’t guarantee that we can provide for every special dietary need.

Only water in a covered cup or bottle is allowed on the clinic floor. No open-top beverages will be allowed.

14. Will there be an orientation?

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Everyone is required to attend a department specific orientation session prior to working their first shift on Friday or Saturday. (There is not an orientation session required for set-up or tear-down.) Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your shift so you will have time to register and attend the pre-requisite orientation.

At Thursday evening’s dinner we will have a general orientation for all volunteers. It begins at 6:30 pm and you will have an opportunity to go through orientation, register, get your shirt and get a tour of the clinic.

15. If I can’t volunteer at the event, is there another way I can help the MnMOM?

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Absolutely! A project of this magnitude requires nearly $250,000 in tax-deductible donations and in-kind contributions to cover expenses for dental equipment, facility rentals, supplies, pharmaceuticals and food costs. Consider donating money or in-kind products or services. Your contribution, no matter the amount, will make a difference in treating thousands of patients. Please visit the Donations page on the Minnesota Dental Foundation website and select Mission of Mercy from the dropdown list.