A group of compassionate donors is making the holidays a little brighter for the families served by the Franciscan Physician Network St. Clare Health Center.
The Friends of the St. Clare Center on Tuesday donated 50 $120 Strack & Van Til gift cards and two $150 gift cards to the center for the purchase of holiday meals by the families it serves. The organization hoped to raise $2,500 and raised more than two and half times their goal. The multiple donors who assisted in the collection of the $6,300 to support the effort asked to remain anonymous.
“One of the organizers, when he was reaching out to fellow donors, said, ‘As you sit down to have your Thanksgiving meal, think about the families you have helped. That should bring a smile to your face,’” Franciscan Health Foundation Executive Director Rick Peltier said. “The fact that they want to remain anonymous shows that they aren’t doing this for recognition but to truly help their neighbors in need. I am thankful for the Friends of the St. Clare Center and all of our supporters this Thanksgiving.”
The Franciscan Physician Network St. Clare Health Center at 1121 S. Indiana Ave. in Crown Point provides quality, affordable healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured. The center provides preventative care, primary care, specialty referrals and health education. The Franciscan Health Prenatal Assistance Program, newly reopened Fresh Start Market and Diaper Pantry are also housed at the St. Clare Center building.
The new Fresh Start Market replaces the former St. Clare Pantry and mirrors that of the market that opened at 5454 Hohman Ave. in Hammond in October. The Fresh Start Markets are healthy food bodegas where those in need can shop free of charge. The Diaper Pantry, located adjacent to the Fresh Start Market, provides diapers, wipes and other essentials for free to parents in need.
The Franciscan Health Foundation partners with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana to address food insecurity throughout Northwest Indiana, which includes the development of the Fresh Start Markets. According to the Food Bank, nearly 100,000 Northwest Indiana residents are food insecure, roughly one in six.
“Our ministry is honored to expand much-needed food security services and advocacy county-wide,” Franciscan Health Community Health Improvement Director Danielle Crowder said. “We are grateful for all who have joined us in respectfully raising awareness, joyfully feeding those in need and compassionately reducing family stress.”
Franciscan Health Community Health Improvement Coordinator-Community Paramedicine Alexandra Grelecki, MPH, NREMT-P, said the donation of grocery gift cards from the Friends of the St. Clare Center, “means the world to a lot of people.”
Grelecki said she called some of those served by the center Tuesday morning to tell them about the gift cards.
“When I called and said we can provide Thanksgiving dinner, a lot were just in shock and awe that the community is so generous and able to help them when they can’t provide for themselves,” Grelecki said. “I’m just amazed by the generosity of our community. They truly are making a difference.”
The St. Clare Center’s Fresh Start Market is open to the public on the first Tuesday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the first Thursday of the month from 12-4 p.m., the third Tuesday of the month from 12-4 p.m. and the third Thursday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call (219) 407-6948.
Anyone interested in donating to the Franciscan Health Foundation to support the St. Clare Center’s Fresh Start Market may do so online by contributing to the Food Insecurity Fund at this link.
More information on how to support the St. Clare Center, Fresh Start Market, Diaper Pantry and other community stewardship programs is available atFranciscanHealthFoundation.org or by calling the Franciscan Health Foundation at (219) 661-3401.