Advertisement

Community Free Clinic needs annual fund-raiser of its own

July 07, 1999

If only there were more youngsters like Ashley Newcomer. After the 7-year-old third grader from Hagerstown's Grace Academy heard about the financial plight of the Community Free Clinic, she went door-to-door in her neighborhood, collecting $350 in donations.

If that were repeated in every neighborhood in the city, the clinic's problems might be solved, but because the clinic only has enough cash to get through this month, it's time for local folks to put together a long-time funding strategy.

The nine-year-old clinic, staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses and just plain citizens, treated more than 8,000 patients last year on a budget of $240,000. Those receiving treatment are mostly the working poor. Most of them make too much to qualify for state assistance, but have jobs that don't include health-care benefits.

Without the clinic, these patients would undoubtedly end up the in the Washington County Hospital's emergency room. And many would no doubt delay those visits until their conditions became serious, increasing everyone's costs.

Advertisement

But while everyone can agree that the clinic provides a needed service at a bargain price, there's no agreement yet on how to put the organization on a firm financial footing. United Way provides some funds, as does the Washington County Gaming Commission, but it's clear that more is needed.

Like what? What we have in mind is an annual large-scale fund-raiser like Y-Me's Aerobothon or the March of Dimes' Walk-a-thon. Such events not only raise a large amount of money in a short time, but they also provide an opportunity for publicity about what the group does.

One of the free clinic's board members has suggested a neighborhood challenge event, in which children like Ashley Newcomer would ask their neighbors to help out, showing the children in the process that there's a world beyond their own neighborhood, a world that they can affect for the better.

We await the announcement of such a community-wide challenge with eager interest. In the meantime, please help if you can by sending donations to Community Free Clinic, 18 W. Franklin St., Hagerstown, Md., 21740.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|