There is a biblical saying, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and Bobby Grossi, owner of Gateway Dental, has certainly taken that to heart. Since 2012, Gateway has offered a Free Dental Day to the local community on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and, in fact, they did so again this past November. Dr. Grossi came up with the idea as a way to give back during the holiday season. Before starting this endeavor, he asked himself what he could do to make the biggest impact on his community, coming up with the idea of providing those without dental insurance a chance to take care of their dental hygiene at no cost. After all, dental work is what he know best, and his skill provided the perfect way to give of himself…offering a service that everyone needs but that many may not be able to afford.
The holiday season represents a time of generosity and giving. And sometimes giving of oneself can be more impactful and effective than simply giving money to a cause. In fact, Dr. Grossi takes the practice of giving a step further with his dental office’s Free Dental Day. He says, “We have to do what we can as humans” and so he and his staff volunteer for an entire day to provide much needed services to those who may need it but can’t pay for it. This undertaking is also a family enterprise, including his two sisters in-law who work in the office, Bobby’s wife, Sabrina, and even his children. Involving the kids has proven to be a good way to teach them how to carry on this generosity of spirit as they mature and grow older. Sabrina Grossi explains about the family involvement, saying, “We do anything and everything that day that needs to be done. From making sure those waiting get food if they want it, to acting as ‘runners’ to escort patients back to treatment rooms, to cleaning up these rooms after they have been used. Even the kids participate.”
When Dr. Grossi was searching for a way to serve his community in a charitable manner, he wanted to find something that he could do that would actually make a difference in the lives of individuals, saying he believes it takes the simple act of one person working towards good to make things better for another human being. And because Dr. Grossi believes this, he thinks that “Our purpose is to give more than we ever receive. People should over-deliver on everything they do. Be selfless.” He and his employees hit on the idea that many people in the Flint area might not have the ability to get regular dental care, so their annual holiday enterprise became the perfect gift to give to others, offering individuals the skill and expertise he and his staff are accomplished at providing throughout the year on a daily basis.
The way it works is that people line up at Gateway Dental for cleaning, extractions, and fillings on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. This is an opportunity for those without insurance to protect their overall health because so many health issues can be the result of improper dental care. Clearly, the spirit of generosity extends throughout the business as the entire Gateway Dental staff volunteers to provide this dental work without being paid on that day. And because the services are offered on a first come, first serve basis, and lines can get long, Dr. Grossi even provides the patients with refreshments — free food and drinks — while they wait. Last year, there were 350 patients who benefitted from Gateway’s generosity, and this year, the office planned for so many more that they put up a large tent and played the Michigan vs. Ohio State football game for those who were waiting for care.
Grossi says “When a person is blessed to have a happy, safe, and comfortable life, then it’s necessary for that individual to give back to the community which supports him or her so well.” He also states says that “ It takes just one person to make a difference for another.” Thus, Gateway Dental and the Grossi family have provided so many people in and around Flint with a gift that can be appreciated long after it is initially received. But Bobby Grossi is modest throughout his portrayal of his act of charity. He, in fact, prefers to credit his action to someone else…as an act of giving back through Christ—and he is most certainly “loving his neighbor as himself.”