01/13/2012: "Fish for Teeth Taco Time"
(Medical Teams International-photo)
A dental van is coming to Friday Harbor to fix people’s teeth on January 13 and 14, in the Marketplace parking lot Saturday.
The opportunity has finally arrived, and Fish for Teeth seized this opportunity in the form of a Dental Van sponsored by Medical Teams International, based out of Redmond, WA (see below). For $800 per day, the RV-sized van, fully stocked with supplies and two dental chairs, will travel to most anywhere there is a need for dental care.
Fish for Teeth’s main fundraiser is preparing and offering (for a donation) fish tacos to the public.
A flour tortilla, with sustainably harvested Alaskan rockfish, caught, cared for, and prepared by Matt Marinkovich. Accompanying the fish is fresh salsa from Pablito’s Taqueria, and fresh cabbage donated from Heritage Farm. Throw in some cheese, mayo, and a squeeze of lime…
They have done this twice before, and will be doing it again when the van is providing it’s services this Friday, January 13. Tacos will be on sale from 11:30 to 2 p.m. Suggested donation is $7.00.
It all started back in 2005 when an 8-year old girl walked up to a classmate’s father and said, “Wanna see my cavities?” She opened her mouth for inspection. After viewing a mouthful of rotten teeth, Matt Marinkovich, an opportunistic commercial fisherman, came up with an interesting idea: capitalize on the occasional opportunities when the fishing industry has extra cash on the table, and use that money to fix kid’s teeth in San Juan County.
A year later, Fish for Teeth was born, with a five-member board consisting of commercial fishermen and dentists. The goal was for the 501(c)(3) organization to cut through the red tape, and start fixing teeth. Fish for Teeth has worked closely with the County Public Health Department, and the Dental Coalition of San Juan County.
The group had high aspirations in the beginning, which soon were quashed by the realization that the cash-on-the table opportunities were actually quite few and far between. They had a trickle of income from selling fish tacos, and managed to do a couple small teeth projects, but mostly they hunkered down and waited for an opportunity to make a big bang with their limited bucks.
The van is fully booked for this first visit, but the Fish for Teeth team is hoping to bring the van back to Friday Harbor, and other Islands as well, at regular intervals.