Supporters of the Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center Foundation gathered on Saturday, Oct. 23 at T.B. Scott Library in Merrill for the 14th Annual Wine and Cheese Social. Approximately 100 donors enjoyed the evening which pays tribute to supporters and showcases community organizations that received support from the Foundation in 2010.
“This event is very important not only to thank the donors for their support but for community agencies to explain how the donated dollars has helped them provide health and wellness services to poor and underserved Merrill residents,” said Kathy Brecke, Foundation Director.
“With the continued support of the Merrill Community, the Foundation is strengthening our community by supporting and sponsoring programs/services that will make a difference in our community and for individuals in their daily lives,” said Art Lersch, Foundation Vice Chair stated. “Our goal is to remain a strong partner for our communities and to promote projects that will have a positive impact on the poor and vulnerable.
Another highlight of the event was an update on the need for oral health in Lincoln County by Georgia Fischer, Dental Director – Bridge Community Health Dental Clinic. “Visits to hospital emergency departments for non-traumatic dental complaints have increased over the past several decades throughout the United States,” said Fischer. In addition Medicaid and uninsured individuals have a more difficult time obtaining dental services compared to medical services with many of these ending up in emergency departments.
In 2009 there were a total of 360 visits to Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center’s emergency department for non-traumatic dental complaints.
Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center and its Foundation have partnered with Bridge Community Dental Clinic to improve oral health, ensuring that all people in Merrill and the surrounding area have access to dental care.
Bridge Community Dental Health Clinic is only one initiative supported by the Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center Foundation. Nine other agencies received funds including:
• “Our Time” Adult Social Respite Program-Merrill Senior Center
• “After the Bell” After School Program-Lincoln County UW-Extension/After the Bell Steering Committee
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central Wisconsin
• Community Food Pantry – Merrill
• Comunidad Hispana
• Saint Vincent de Paul Free Clinic
• Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center Employee Advised Fund
• Healthy Snacks for After School Tutoring-Washington Elementary School
• “Take a Break”-Lincoln County Respite Committee