STOCKBRIDGE — Hands of Hope Clinic in Stockbridge is looking for money to continue providing health services for uninsured people in Henry County.
The clinic, which opened in 2004, launched its 1,000 Strong campaign in an attempt to generate donations from the public.
“Since the clinic began, we’ve had only the one fundraising effort in the community, which is the Goblin Gallop in the fall,” said Ruth Rucker, executive director at Hands of Hope. “Three years ago, the board added the 1,000 Strong campaign. This is an attempt to engage the greater community to step up and make a donation for whatever they can afford to help those in our community who are without the means to afford medical and dental services.
Hands of Hope Clinic is staffed by volunteer medical professionals, and is on the campus of Piedmont Henry Hospital. The clinic has served more than 3,000 Henry County residents since its creation in 1995, said Rucker.
Rucker said patients at the clinic must be within 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
“For a family of four, that’s around $47,000 a year,” she said. “Last year, we were able to help 930 individuals in our community. The economy has really changed the type of patients we’re seeing now. We used to see a lot of the working poor, but now we’re seeing those individuals who have lost jobs due to the poor economy, and have lost their benefits, their health insurance.”
Rucker said the 1,000 Strong campaign raised $10,000 in 2010 and again in 2011. She is hopeful that donations from this year’s campaign will exceed that amount.
“We depend on the generosity of our community,” she said. “We do get some grant funding but we really rely on charitable donations from within the community to be able to sustain the clinic and continue doing what we’re doing.”
Rucker said donations of all sizes are essential for continued operation at Hands of Hope.
“Just $25 will pay for one month’s medication for a patient with high blood pressure,” she said. “And $50 will pay for a two-month supply of needed diabetic supplies. We can give flu vaccines to 20 people with a gift of $100 and just a little over $500 will purchase a full set of dentures for someone who could never afford them without Hands of Hope and the generous support of our contributors.”
Dr. Joseph Blissit, a long-time former board member at Piedmont Henry, voiced support for the 1,000 Strong campaign.
“Did you know that some 80 doctors, nurses, dentists and others volunteer their time to serve this clinic?” he said. “Did you know that Piedmont Henry Hospital provides a clinic office space and diagnostic and other services needed to treat clinic patients?”
Blissit added that the campaign relies on the generosity of the general public.
“Beyond this, we rely on the generosity of individuals, churches and businesses for basic operating support,” he said. “I am asking you to step up as my wife Jan and I are doing to become one of the 1,000 Strong for Hands of Hope.”
To make a donation online, visit www.handsofhopeclinic.org. Donations by check can be mailed to Hands of Hope Clinic Inc. at 1010 Hospital Drive, Building B, Stockbridge Ga. 30281. For more information, call (770) 507-1344.