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Fish taco fundraiser canceled | Guest column

Submitted by Matt and Maureen Marinkovich.

We started Fish for Teeth as an impulsive action in 2007 after a nine-year-old girl showed me her mouth full of cavities. Now, after well over a decade of Fish Tacos and Dental Vans, it looks like another impulsive action will bring our involvement with Fish for Teeth to an end.

I’d venture to say we process ideas and challenges a little differently than most people. That is why Fish for Teeth came about in the first place. Well, it’s that same difference that affords Maureen and I the perspective to not be afraid when the whole Covid narrative is fear, fear, fear. Ultimately, we see the Emperor is standing buck naked before us all, and we are tired of the scenery.

The make-up of our personal fibers left us no choice but to speak out and take action to try to help others see with similar clarity, and to speak for those who agree but are afraid or unable to stand up. We’ve been protesting on the corner over the past few weeks, but it was the simple action of going shopping without a mask that whipped up a torrent which rippled outward with more force than we could have imagined.

Fish for Teeth could never be the great thing it has become without the community support needed to make it happen. All I have ever done (with lots of help) is line people up to do the many jobs needed to make the dental van happen, fundraise with fish tacos, and remind people the importance of a strong community. Now it seems the community is ripped in half because… Maureen and I went shopping without a mask? Really?

With the state of affairs as it is, if we moved forward with Friday’s scheduled Fish Taco fundraiser, it would force our beloved Fish for Teeth “Team Taco” volunteers and Kiwanis Taco-Angels to have to choose sides if they were to support us or not. That is divisive, and that is never what we’ve been about, so it is obviously better to call the whole thing off than to draw lines in our community.

In addition, the owners of the venue at which we were going have the Fish Taco fundraiser refused us the use of their space, so we had nowhere lined up to hold the event. Normally I’ve got lots of energy to overcome any obstacle, but since our “community machine” is not firing on all cylinders right now, we figured it’s best to let this one go. But don’t worry, the dental van is still coming next week, so people will still get their teeth fixed.

In our peaceful protest by shopping without a mask, Maureen and I never for a minute thought it would wind up with the Fish for Teeth fish taco fundraiser being canceled. This is very disappointing collateral damage, and definitely not our intention. Sorry, not all of our abstract ideas can hit a home run…

We still love you all and we hope there is no hard feelings toward us, but if there is, we understand.