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Good News Clinics halfway to goal
Group trying to raise 95 in 95
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Nurse volunteer Bonnie Wirfs dispenses pills at the Good News pharmacy Wednesday afternoon. The clinic is at the halfway point of its campaign to raise $95,000 in 95 days.

Need help or want to help?

Free medical and dental care, including lab work and medication,
is available at Good News Clinics for those who meet these criteria:

Hall County residents.

Don’t have have health insurance.

Family income is 150 percent federal poverty level.

Fill out a new patient application.

Contact Good News Clinics to donate to the "95 in 95" campaign,
which continues through June 30, or to volunteer.

Good News at Noon Clinics; P.O. Box 2683; Gainesville, GA 30503.

www.goodnewsclinics.org

770-297-5040

Good News Clinics is a little more than halfway to its goal of raising $95,000 in 95 days, a challenge started with a gift from an anonymous donor.

The Sam Poole Medical Clinic and the Green Warren Dental Clinic, which provide free dental and health care to poor Hall County residents who don’t have insurance, have raised $49,804. That mark that pleases Executive Director Cheryl M. Christian, especially considering the tight economy.

"We’re just thrilled. This community is always very responsive to us," she said. "I think this community, if you can tell your story and your needs, they respond."

Christian said the campaign has brought new donors to the clinics.

"Some people have said ‘If I can just help one patient, that is what I’d like to do,’" she said.

Richard Bennett, a Gainesville dentist and president of the Good News Clinics board of directors, said many of the donations received so far have been from individuals.

"At the start of the campaign, we stressed how even a minimal donation can make a significant impact, and it’s true — the bulk of the money we’ve raised to date has been donations less than $100," Bennett said. "The donations often come with notes wishing us success and thanks for the clinics’ work. One lady even figured out that if 3,100 people donated $30, we would meet our goal."

A little more than $45,000 remains to be raised before the June 30 end of the campaign. The campaign was launched in March with the slogan "95 in 95," after an anonymous donor gave $95,000 and asked Good News to challenge the community to match the gift.

Fundraising is vital because the clinics get no government money to supplement the $1 million annual budget, Christian said. Most funds come from community donations, but the clinics also receive some foundation money.

The same economic conditions making it difficult for many nonprofit groups to raise money are increasing demand for Good News’ services.

The clinics have recorded a 69 percent increase in new patients from January 2008 to January 2009, Christian said. Currently, the clinics are getting some 230 to 240 new patient applications each month. Before last year, only about 120 new patient applications would be received in a typical month, she said.

"The population we’re seeing is changing some and the need is growing," Christian said. She explained that most new Good News patients are ages 50 and older and don’t have health insurance because of being laid off or having work hours cut.

Good News also depends on volunteers to help, with 40 physicians, 43 dentists and numerous community volunteers giving their time to the clinics. Christian said the clinics also have attracted new volunteers in the past year.

Good News Clinics, located at 810 Pine St. in Gainesville, are open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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