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Bridge club donates $1,000 to Community Free Clinic

February 05, 2006|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

One dollar a week.

That's what each member of the Rosemarie Linenberger Charity Bridge Club puts into a fund at Friday bridge games.

Multiply that dollar by 20-or-so players and 52 weeks per year, and the club has a considerable pot of money to deal into the community annually.

During a luncheon Friday at Fountain Head Country Club, the club donated $1,000 to the Community Free Clinic.

Nancy Chase of Hagerstown is co-coordinator of the club along with Jan Goldman.

"It's astonishing how one dollar grows into something worth donating to a group," Chase said. "I'm proud as punch at the amount of our contribution from just a bunch of gals who get together to play bridge."

Robin Roberson, executive director of the Community Free Clinic, seemed to be equally pleased to accept the contribution.

"It's through donations like this that we survive," Roberson said. "There is a huge need in Washington County for health care for people who are uninsured."

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The clinic at 249 Mill St. in Hagerstown had 16,670 patient visits during 2005, a nearly 50 percent increase in services from the previous year, Roberson said. About 80 percent of those patients were employed full time, but were not offered insurance or were unable to afford premiums.

Roberson said during 2005, the clinic provided $2.1 million worth of prescription medication to patients on a $40,000 prescription medication budget.

Also present at the luncheon was Valerie Tonetti of Keedysville, who volunteers to read with the kindergarten class at Bester Elementary School. Tonetti recently received a $300 donation from the bridge club to purchase books for each student in the class.

"These kids want to read," Tonetti said. "They're just learning like little sponges. I know they will be very thrilled."

Chase said the idea to establish a bridge club that benefits charities originated from her late friend Rosemarie Linenberger, for whom the club is named.

"She started with a couple of friends and one table of bridge and it's grown to this," Chase said.

Sue Smith of Hagerstown said she learned to play bridge about 30 years ago and joined the club last November after she retired.

"I had heard of clubs donating to charity before and I think it's an excellent idea," Smith said.

The charity bridge club meets Fridays at Morris Frock American Legion Post 42. Members vote each year to determine the recipient of their donations.

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