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Saturday April 19, 2014
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Ann Arborite Kate MacEwen

 

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Snyder, a burly, six-foot-seven-inch man with narrow-framed glasses, answers questions fluidly and calmly--until MacEwen asks how the state's elimination of Medicaid-funded dental care affected him. Showing some agitation, he explains that teeth grinding runs in his family and that he needs to keep up his dental care--but that's hard to do when he works just two days a week and has only about $100 a month left over after his rent is paid. Staring into the camera, Snyder implores, "Give it back! Give it back!"

With his permission, MacEwen will post Snyder's interview on the Community Alliance website. She's enhancing the site as part of an effort to increase the visibility of what her boss, Community Alliance CEO Steve Weindorf, calls "probably the biggest little nonprofit you've never heard of."

The group's longtime mission is to help adults with developmental disabilities find housing and support to live independently. But in response to tough times, CA has broadened its scope. When Lansing ended all but emergency dental assistance to indigents last summer, "we could either wring our hands or do something," explains MacEwen. In addition to publicizing the issue, she and a volunteer created monthly "chow-downs" at area restaurants, which donate a percentage of their sales to CA's dental assistance fund. Impressed, dentist Elisa Ghezzi helped MacEwen organize a recent day of free cleanings at the office of dentist John Wehr.

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