Volunteers help hundreds with free Nevada County health clinic
Hundreds of residents from across Nevada County were able to receive free medical, dental and vision treatment thanks to a two-day clinic at the Nevada County Fairgrounds hosted by the United Way of Nevada County.
The clinic estimates serving about 500 patients each day through the volunteer efforts of 250 health-care professionals who gave their time and expertise through California CareForce, a Roseville-based nonprofit that has provided free health services to over 32,000 patients across the state since 2011.
The event was also made possible through the help of hundreds of non-medical volunteers who set up four Fairgrounds buildings where patients were treated, prepared and escorted patients to receive care, and fed patients and staff for the two-day event.
Several local organizations, churches and public agencies also came together to give back what they could, from donating lunch to volunteering time to baking cookies.
“We truly live in a wonderful, caring community,” Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout said. “When things like this happen, whether it’s a planned event like this or some sort of tragedy or public emergency you will see a tremendous amount of community support.”
According to United Way of Nevada County Chief Executive Officer Megan Timpany, the biggest need has been dental care, with the majority of patients opting for those services. The clinic also offered complete eye-care services, including eye exams, prescriptions and making a new pair of glasses for patients on site. After patients received care, they also had the option of follow-up services to help make future and preventative care easier.
“One of the missions we have with CareForce is we really try to get people connected with their medical home and we’re working with the community to get people into follow-up care,” California CareForce Executive Director Pamela Congdon said.
The last time the free clinic was held in the community was in 2015, which saw lots of demand that continued during this weekend’s event. Timpany hopes she will be able to bring another free weekend clinic to the area within the next two to three years, but that will depend on funding and securing a suitable location. She said its a challenge to find a venue that can host so many people with different building for the five days it takes to setup, run and wrap up the event. The fundraising for the event, totaling between $60,000-$75,000, also takes up to a year.
“We would love to get some funding through the county to bring this back yearly but the United Way has been working really hard to raise funds and we’ve had some incredible donors,” Timpany said. “This is all based on volunteers and what really brought to tears to my eyes is that so many community members came out to help.”
The United Way of Nevada County is still raising funds to pay for this weekend’s the event. To find or more call 530-274-8111 or go to uwnc.org.
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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