At Concordia College in Moorhead the doors of the Memorial Auditorium are opening at 5:30 a.m. Some people will have been in line for more than 14 hours. What's the attraction?
A two-day clinic will offer cleanings, fillings, and even root canals for free.
The dentists, hygienists, and assistants are all donating their time as part of the annual "Mission of Mercy" organized by the Minnesota Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Foundation.
This year they're working with their North Dakota counterparts to provide free care to adults and children who – for whatever reason – have been unable to get the dental care they need.
Mission of Mercy is a two-day event and organizers tell Valley News Live they expect to see about 2,000 people before it's over.
You can't reserve a spot, though. Patients will be seen on a first come, first served basis. So people who wanted to make sure they got seen on Friday morning started arriving at the Concordia campus Thursday afternoon.
Besides providing needed care, another goal of the event is to raise awareness of the barriers to dental care that low-income adults and children face.
Missions of Mercy
The Dental Association says the first Mission of Mercy was organized by dentists in Virginia in 2000. The idea has spread around the country since then.
This is the fifth year Minnesota has had a Mission of Mercy. The Dental Association says the first four events saw a total of more than $4 million worth of dental services and procedures donated.
MATBUS, the public transit service for Fargo-Moorhead, is providing free rides to the clinic on both days.
Last year's Minnesota Mission of Mercy was held in Duluth. The Dental Association produced a video that shows what the events are like.