Community Health Initiative awards half a million dollars in grants to area non-profits

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Community Free Clinic in Huntsville was one of this years’ biggest recipients of the Community Health Initiative grant.

The committee awarded half a million dollars in grants to 14 area non-profits, Thursday morning.

The clinic was among its top recipients, receiving $100 thousand.

The money will help the clinic continue to provide free medical care and medication to Madison County’s uninsured.

“We keep them out of the emergency room. Emergency rooms are expensive health care,” said Shotsie Platt, the clinic’s Executive Director. “For us to be able to provide that for free we save the hospital well over a million dollars a year.”

Most often, the clinic treats people with chronic diseases that can affect their quality of life. The money will go mainly toward medications, the clinic’s biggest cost, but also the most important.

“This is the stopgap this keeps them able to go to work, function within the community, able to be healthy at home,” said Platt.

Patient, Marie Bailey is a testament to their cause.

“They are a life saver,” said Bailey.

Bailey was homeless when she moved to Huntsville, but still depended on life-saving medications

“Without them being here I wouldn’t have the medicine I needed so I could go about my daily life,” said Bailey.

Marie has now been able to rent an apartment, and is in school to become a pharmacy technician. She had one more final Thursday evening, before finishing her third quarter.

Marie credits the clinic for helping her maintain not just her health, through providing blood pressure and diabetes medication, but her quality of life as she strives toward graduation.

“Soon I’ll have a job as a pharmacy technician, then I can work until I’m 75!”

Other recipients include, CASA of Madison County,  the Community Free Dental Clinic, Village of Promise, ARC of Madison County, AMBUCS, First Stop, HEALS, Mental Health Center of Madison County, New Hope Children’s Clinic, North Alabama Sickle Cell Foundation, Southeastern Diabetes Education Services, and United Cerebral Palsy.

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