The Assistance League Dental Center serves 3,000 children and young adults a year from their facility at 2200 Fairview Road in Costa Mesa. (handout, Daily Pilot / September 27, 2013)

The Cheri Harris Children's Dental Health Center has kept drilling and filling since it was established in 1952 by the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa.

The center provides comprehensive, ongoing dental care to underserved children and young adults in the community, according to director Anne Wong. The care includes general and preventive dentistry, root canals, composite restoration, crowns, bridges, sealants and emergency services.

It also provides orthodontic treatments for children from pre-kindergarten through age 26. The center does not accept dental insurance, but a nominal fee is charged for all dental procedures. Orthodontic fees are also reduced.

The center's staff consists of four general dentists, an orthodontist, a dental hygienist and members of the Assistance League who volunteer their time to keep this operation going.

The center is fully funded by the Assistance League from sales at its thift and consignment shops, contributions, community grants and annual fundraising event. The dental center fulfills the League's motto, "A Better Tomorrow for Today's Child," by treating about 3,000 patients yearly, says Wong.

The center is open Mondays through Thursdays and every other Friday.

The Assistance League of Newport-Mesa, founded in 1940, is a nonprofit, self-funded volunteer organization that benefits children and families through a variety of philanthropic programs.

For more information on the dental center, contact Wong at (949) 645-6929 or visit http://www.alnm.org. Mailing address is 2220 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92627.

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Plastic bags to help the homeless

The Harbor Mesa Lions are having plarn parties to help the homeless, according to member Carol Van Holt. Plarn is plastic yarn used to weave mats for the homeless to sleep on.

Members are saving plastic bags, which they cut into strips and wind into balls to give to the Pomona Host Lions Club to create the mats. Harbor Mesa Lions Club member Joan Parks is hosting the parties in her home.

"Our members have fun doing this project, as we get to do something that is productive and know that the end result will help people," she said.

The Harbor Mesa Lions are also collecting used eyeglasses, ink cartridges and used hearing aids.

For more information, check out the club's website at nhcmlionsclub.com.

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Off to Vietnam and Cambodia

Barbara and I are off this week on a 10-day tour to Vietnam and Cambodia — Barbara leading a group from the Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce and I with a group from the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council.

The Interfaith Council has four tours planned for 2014. They include Russia by Rail, Dubai, Peru and Machu Picchu, and Paris and Normandy. One does not have to be a member of the Interfaith Council to participate in the trips.

For more information, visit http://www.nmiinterfaith.org or email nmiinterfaith@aol.com.