NEWPORT—The Dental Program sponsored by the Cocke County Health Council still has a frozen status due to the depletion of funds in the program’s account.

During the December meeting, Council Chair Bettye Carver appointed a fundraising committee to host an event and find the resources to sustain the much needed dental outreach in the county.

The program allows a uninsured individual to receive one dental procedure per year at no cost. The patient can choose a cleaning, filling or extraction. Currently the program’s funds are under $1,000 and not able to feasibly maintain services.

Co-Chair Molly Ford told council members about an upcoming fundraiser for the program.

“We have a photographer willing to donate a few hours of her time to do photo shoots for donation,” Ford said.

The photos will be by donation only and will take place in the upstairs room at the Fruit Jar Alley. A minimum $5 donation will be required for the photo shoot.

Matthew McConaughey, Health Educator for the Cocke County Health Department, feels that one fundraising event is not enough to sustain the program. McConaughey told members there would need to be a continuous flow of money into the program.

“The fundraising idea is a good one, but we still will need more to keep the program going all year. We need to find a way to have funds going in at all times,” McConaughey said.

Ford said the fundraising committee would continue to seek ways to replenish funds. Carlene Robinson, Director of the Office on Aging, mentioned a potential grant that would be relative to the program’s need.

New SNAP Guidelines

SNAP Coordinator Denise West presented members with the new guidelines offered by SNAP for senior citizens which allows for those 60 plus to use medical expenses to offset their income in order to qualify them for food assistance benefits.

Seniors can have no more than $3,500 in account assets such as checking, saving or CDs. Medical expenses can be anything from prescription costs to bandages for a wound. West said most county seniors are either under enrolled or not enrolled at all, and the benefits are there for them to use.

Advocates for Assault Cases

A representative from Helen Ross McNabb informed members of their sexual assault program that works to complete immediate exams once an incident occurs in order to give swift, precise care to the victim. Free therapy is also offered to any victim of sexual assault regardless of when the incident occurred.

August through November are described as the “red zone months” due to the increase of sexual assaults during that time frame. Last month the center saw its highest number with 49 cases in one month throughout the 10 counties served in the region.

The center advocates for, and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are available to visit schools and hospitals if an assault is reported and their services are requested. A nurse and advocate can be on scene within one hour of the request being made.

Anyone seeking more information can visit the Helen Ross McNabb website at or call 865-523-8695.

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