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Clinic needs donations to treat indigent patients

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

The Hands of Hope Clinic in Stockbridge is seeking financial contributions from the public, to assist in the continued operation of the facility.

The free medical clinic is asking for 1,000 people to become a partner, by donating funds. Ruth Rucker, the interim executive director of Hands of Hope, located at 1010 Hospital Drive in Stockbridge, said the money is needed to support the volunteer efforts of 60-80 doctors, nurses, administrative and clerical staff.

"We don't receive any federal funding, and we don't have a dependable income base," she said. "So, we need ... our community to support our operating expenses, which are low."

The clinic opened in 2004, on the campus of McDonough Presbyterian Church. Hands of Hope has been located at its current facility, adjacent to Henry Medical Center, for three years.

Rucker said, although the clinic is not in danger of closing its doors, economic woes locally and nationwide have heightened the need for donations from the public. She hopes residents will give whatever is "comfortable" for them.

"We've relied on grant funding for the last couple of years, and grants are more competitive now," she said. "More people are looking for grants, and there are fewer grants to go around. Everybody has a different ability to give. Any amount will be greatly appreciated, large or small."

Rucker added that a donation of $25 would be enough to cover one month's medications for a patient with hypertension, and $50 would pay for a two-month supply of diabetic testing strips.

"A gift of $100 will cover the cost of flu vaccines for 20 patients, and $550 will cover the cost of a full set of dentures," she continued.

The clinic is primarily geared toward providing health-care services for indigent and lower-income individuals, according to Dr. Sarvesh Naidu, medical director at Hands of Hope.

"Henry Medical Center has been a big help in providing diagnostics, and the emergency care necessary to maintain their [patients'] health," Naidu said. "But, we need funds to follow up in the clinic on an ongoing basis."

Donations can be made online at www.handsofhopeclinic.org, or by mailing a check to Hands of Hope. For more information, call the clinic at (770) 507-1344.