At a huge free medical clinic in Southwest Virginia, misery that shouldn’t exist

by Petula Dvorak

Rhonda Gibson tries to crack a smile with an ice pack on her face after she got a tooth pulled and was still feeling some pain. She’s from Coeburn, Va. and has no dental insurance. Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post

A gravel parking lot deep in the green hills of Virginia coal country was packed to capacity by 4 a.m. Friday. More than 1,500 people with canes, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, bleeding gums, black lungs and other ills had come to the Wise County Fairgrounds, camping in tents, sleeping in pickup truck beds or scrunched up in their cars, hoping to see a doctor.

  • World Hunger Education
    Service
    P.O. Box 29015
    Washington, D.C. 20017
  • For the past 40 years, since its founding in 1976, the mission of World Hunger Education Service is to undertake programs, including Hunger Notes, that
    • Educate the general public and target groups about the extent and causes of hunger and malnutrition in the United States and the world
    • Advance comprehension which integrates ethical, religious, social, economic, political, and scientific perspectives on the world food problem
    • Facilitate communication and networking among those who are working for solutions
    • Promote individual and collective commitments to sustainable hunger solutions.