Americares Awards $250,000 in COVID-19 Relief Grants

A patient is examined at Community Health Services of Union County in Monroe, N.C. The clinic is one of twenty-five nonprofit organizations that received a $10,000 COVID-19 relief grant from Americares. Photo courtesy of Community Health Services of Union County. (contributed photo)

Stamford, CT – Americares has awarded $250,000 to nonprofit organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Twenty-five free and charitable clinics were each awarded $10,000 grants.

The funds will be used to purchase critically needed personal protective equipment, increase COVID-19 testing and screening capabilities, implement telehealth services, hire additional medical staff and offset the cost of other pandemic-related expenses. Health care providers in 16 states were awarded funding including, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization, sought funding proposals from its network of 1,000 partner clinics and organizations in the U.S. expanding access to health services in communities hard hit by the pandemic. Many of the projects will benefit patients disproportionally impacted by the virus, including Black and Hispanic patients, and patients experiencing homelessness.

“Clinics across the country are struggling at a time when patients need them more than ever,” said Americares Vice President of U.S. Programs Edith Lee. “Many are seeing an influx of new patients while facing increased staffing costs to fill jobs previously done by volunteers and increased costs for PPE. These grants will help ensure that health centers serving low-income, uninsured patients have the resources they need to fight COVID-19 and keep their communities healthy.”

With the rising numbers of families in poverty nationwide, the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics reports 74 percent of clinics have seen an increase in new, unemployed patients inquiring about care since the start of the pandemic. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of clinics canceled planned fundraisers that provide critical operating funds, according to a recent survey of the association’s 1,400 member clinics nationwide.

Americares awarded $10,000 grants to the following organizations:

  • The Berkeley Free Clinic in Berkeley Calif., to deploy high capacity water tanks and handwashing stations to houseless encampments to ensure individuals have safe drinking water and can maintain good hygiene practices;
  • Lestonnac Free Clinic in Orange, Calif., to purchase personal protective equipment and offset the cost of operational expenses;
  • Westminster Free Clinic in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to purchase personal protective equipment, medical supplies and offset the cost of lab testing services;
  • Community Health Center of West Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Fla., to fund a new COVID-19 telehealth clinic;
  • Miami Rescue Mission Clinic to purchase personal protective equipment and offset the cost of operational expenses;
  • We Care of Central Florida to purchase a new health system software and offset the cost of staff salaries and operational expenses;
  • Urban Health and Wellness in Atlanta to hire a health practitioner to meet the increased demand for services;
  • Willing Helpers Medical Clinic in Covington, Ga., to cover the cost of staff salaries related to extended clinic hours;
  • CommunityHealth in Chicago to purchase new dental equipment and restore the range of services offered at their dental clinic;
  • The Foundation of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in South Bend, Ind., to cover the cost of medications needed to keep patients healthy;
  • Regents of the University of Minnesota – Phillips Neighborhood Clinic in Minneapolis to purchase additional laptops and a webcam to expand telehealth services;
  • Shelter Health Services in Charlotte, N.C., to increase COVID-19 testing and screening capabilities at the clinic and to ensure the homeless shelter is COVID-19-free and the women and children are safe;
  • Surry Medical Ministries Clinic in Mount Airy, N.C., to purchase interactive voice response software to enhance prescription refill requests by phone and purchase iPads to facilitate telehealth appointments;
  • Community Health Services of Union County in Monroe, N.C., to hire a bilingual physician’s assistant;
  • St. Joseph Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, N.Y., to purchase personal protective equipment and medical supplies;
  • St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy in Cincinnati, Ohio, to hire a nurse practitioner and implement telehealth services;
  • Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of the Cascades in Bend, Ore., to offset the cost of maintaining their free pharmacy open for patients;
  • Community Volunteers in Medicine in West Chester, Pa., to purchase personal protective equipment and restore dental services;
  • United Way of the Midlands – WellPartners Dental and Eye Health Clinics in Columbia, S.C., to purchase personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies;
  • Tomagwa Healthcare Ministries in Tomball, Texas, to purchase a new software system that will allow the clinic to increase patient visits;
  • Texas International Institute of Health Professionals in Houston to purchase personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies;
  • Open Arms Health Clinic in Arlington, Texas, to provide additional patient navigation resources and counseling support as well as purchase medical supplies;
  • Northern Neck Middlesex Free Health Clinic in Kilmarnock, Va., to install a new air filtration system in the clinic;
  • Neighborhood Clinic in Tacoma, Wash., to offset the cost of operational expenses and purchase medical supplies;
  • and Health Access, Inc., in Clarksburg, W.Va., to expand the clinic’s service offerings, which will include on-site phlebotomy services and to offset the cost of operational expenses.

The grants are part of Americares global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reached 26 countries with critically needed protective gear, training and emotional support for frontline health workers. Worldwide, Americares has delivered 300 tons of infection-control supplies including masks, gowns and disinfectants to combat the spread of the virus. In addition, Americares is training thousands of health workers in infection prevention and control, disaster preparedness and mental health and psychosocial support.

In the U.S., Americares is the largest nonprofit provider of medical aid to organizations serving low-income and uninsured patients. Americares provides medicine, supplies, education and training to a network of more than 1,000 partner clinics nationwide. Americares U.S. Program helps partner clinics increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs for patients.

Americares responds to approximately 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishes long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities. Since its founding more than 40 years ago, Americares has provided more than $18 billion in aid to 164 countries, including the United States.

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