Written by Grace Kennedy – #spotlightseries #accessgrantedCLT #healthcare

No one should have to choose between eating dinner or going to the doctor. That’s the philosophy driving these Charlotte-area nonprofits, all of which provide free or low-cost healthcare services to low-income families.\

Their services cover a broad spectrum of physical and emotional healthcare needs, but at the core they are all committed to empowering people to take care of their health without worrying about going into debt or not being able to feed their children.

Read on, learn more, and spread the word!

Heartbright Foundation

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And poverty can add fuel to the fire: A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that greater lifetime exposure to poverty was related to increasing heart disease risks.

Enter the HeartBright Foundation. This organization has a free clinic in SouthEnd for patients at risk for or suffering from heart disease and diabetes. HeartBright also promotes cardiovascular wellness with awareness and prevention programs like their comprehensive Cardiac Resource Center.

One fun way you can help the HeartBright Foundation is by volunteering for the Ninth Annual Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament on August 28. To learn more visit this link or call (704) 373-3002. You can also make a financial donation here.

Teen Health Connection

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, Teen Health Connection strives to see every adolescent empowered to be healthy, safe and successful. The healthcare practice provides a safe, family-centered place for people age 11 to 22 to receive medical and mental healthcare. The center also provides substance abuse and pregnancy prevention education, and it’s the only adolescent eating disorder outpatient practice in the region for males and females.

This 25th Anniversary Video shows what Teen Health Connection is all about.

You can make a financial donation to support Teen Health Connections’ mission here.

Care Ring

Through a low-cost clinic, Nurse-Family Partnership, and Physicians Reach Out program, Care Ring helps those patients in danger of falling through the cracks in the existing healthcare system.

The low-cost clinic provides high-quality preventive care to 2,600 uninsured and underinsured residents each year. The Nurse-Family Partnership pairs first-time mothers with a registered nurse from pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. Physicians Reach Out is a network of 1,600 volunteer healthcare providers who care for 4,000 low-income and uninsured people in Mecklenburg County annually.

“Care Ring has improved my life tremendously,” says a past patient. “I was suffering from heart problems for many years and never saw a doctor because I worried about medical expenses…I am health again and really appreciate Care Ring and Physicians Reach Out.”

You can help by volunteering at the 2018 OrthoCarolina 10K Classic on Saturday, August 18.

You can also make a financial donation here.

Charlotte Community Health Clinic

The vision of CCHC is a healthy community where all individuals, regardless of their ability to pay, have access to comprehensive, coordinated, affordable, quality health care. Offering comprehensive primary care services to uninsured people on a sliding fee scale, CCHC proudly treats patients representing 69 countries and speaking 31 languages.

Services include acute and chronic disease treatment and management, preventative health services, behavioral health, women’s health, pediatrics, diagnostics, health education, and dental services.

Meet some of the patients whose lives have been changed by CCHC in this video.

Your financial support can make a lasting difference in the health of your fellow Charlotteans. $35 provides test strips for a diabetic patient for three months. $50 will fund a full clinic women’s clinic visit. And $100 pays for a series of health education classes. Make a financial donation through Paypal or contact Jennifer Frey at (704) 316-6563 to donate by phone.

Lake Norman Community Health Clinic

Lake Norman Community Health Clinic (LNCHC) is the oldest and largest medical provider serving the uninsured in Mecklenburg and South Iredell counties. More than 80% of the clinic’s patients are working – making good health an essential part of their ability to provide for their families. LNCHC’s free acute and chronic disease care allows the working uninsured to get healthy and stay healthy without having to go into debt to pay off medical bills.

Want to support the clinic? While any financial donation is appreciated, just $287 is enough to provide medical care for one patient for an entire year. You can participate in LNCHC’s 20th Anniversary Capital Campaign here.

You can also volunteer your time as a front office assistant, Spanish interpreter, student volunteer, or special project volunteer. Learn more here.

Planned Parenthood

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 62,200 Mecklenburg County women are in need of family planning services, but just 21% of these women receive services. Planned Parenthood serves to address this lack of services by focusing on compassionate, nonjudgmental health care including preventative services such as birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings and sexual health education.

Planned Parenthood also provides educational programs featuring evidence-based curricula, family engagement, collaboration with schools, alumni programs, and science-based community presentations.

Gifts of time and talent are always welcomed by Planned Parenthood. Each center has its own volunteer needs, and you can get started by filling out a volunteer application here.

You can also make a financial donation here.

Matthews Free Medical Clinic

“The Matthews Free Medical Clinic saved my life. I had no job and no insurance and I knew something was seriously wrong with me. After my initial visit, they found I had severe Diabetes and high blood pressure. I wouldn’t have known without them”.

That’s how James, a MFMC patient, describes this clinic that provides free, quality healthcare to low income, uninsured citizens of Mecklenburg and Union Counties.

The clinic receives no state or federal funding and relies completely on medical and non-medical volunteers to carry out its mission. The clinic’s 28 current volunteer providers allow MFMC to offer acute and chronic primary care, gynecology, cardiology and pulmonology related services, orthopedic, chiropractic and acupuncture services, physical therapy, behavior health services, pharmacy, nutrition counseling, smoking cessation, educational clinics and much more.

Volunteer opportunities include weekly patient screenings and helping at their annual golf tournament fundraiser. Physicians, nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists, dietitians, social workers, receptionists, computer technicians, phlebotomists, and translators are always needed and help to improve MFMC’s ability to reach out to those in need in our community.

Make a financial or in-kind donation here.

The Steve Smith Family Foundation

Yes, the Steve Smith behind this Foundation is that Steve Smith. The former Carolina Panthers wide receiver, along with his wife Angie Smith, established the foundation to promote family health and wellness and to inspire awareness and prevention of domestic violence.

The Steve Smith Family Foundation partnered with Project 658 to open the Smith Family Wellness Clinic in 2016. The clinic offers medical and counseling services in a combined facility for Charlotte families that are facing personal and family struggles and challenges. The goal of the clinic is to address both physical and emotional needs that arise from injury, abuse, addiction and trauma for its patients.

“My mom and dad had to decide, do we eat or do we send our son to the dentist?” says Steve Smith in this video about the clinic. “Physical and psychological health should not be put on the back burner.”

If you want to be part of the Smith Family Foundation team, consider participating in or volunteering at an upcoming fundraiser at Top Golf on September 10, or sign up to help at a back to school healthcare event on August 22.

You can also donate here.

For more information on local nonprofits who provide access to healthcare, check out this #AccessGrantedCLT post.



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