When his Florida landscaping business took a hit during the 2008 recession, Charles had to cut back on a lot of things. Because of an Orlando safety net clinic, health care was not one of them. Charles became a patient of Grace Medical Home, which, with donations from AmeriCares, offers free and low-cost care to low-income uninsured people in Orlando. Through Grace, Charles receives medicines that control his diabetes and cholesterol at no cost.
“Without Grace it would have been hard for me to get medicine,” Charles says. “I come every three months because they’re helping me.” To complement the medicine, Charles attended group education sessions at Grace and has applied lifestyle changes that are improving his health. “I’ve lost 25 pounds,” he says. “If I lose 4 or 5 more I might get off the diabetes medicine.”
Charles is one of an estimated 5 million Americans who benefit from AmeriCares donations of medicines, supplies, software and technical assistance to more than 600 U.S. health care safety net providers. AmeriCares donated more than $200,000 in medicines and supplies to Grace last year as well as the software the clinic uses to track patients in the patient assistance program, through which Charles receives his cholesterol-lowering medicine. Grace Medical Home is also receiving medicine donations through Produce to Give, an extension of Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation product donation program with AmeriCares.
Charles continues to work, caring for the gardens of 17 clients from his pre-recession 65-client roster and he donates landscaping services to Grace Medical Home. “This is beautiful,” he says. “I wish I could do more than take care of the lawn for them.”