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The Kitchen Asks Community to Rise to Challenge

Springfield’s only free health clinic is struggling financially to stay afloat. Each month, the medical facility at The Kitchen is turning away over 200 people who need medical care--and that's just counting the people who actually make it into the waiting room. Now,The Kitchen is trying to get the word out about a new challenge which would make a large dent in the clinic’s operating costs, if met. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore has details.

Over the past 18 months, hundreds of people in Springfield have lost their jobs, which, for many, means they’ve lost their health insurance. Many of these people do not qualify for government assistance, like Medicaid.

As a result, the free clinic at The Kitchen has seen a flood of patients, and is turning away the sick each week.

This has inspired an anonymous donor to team up with The Kitchen board and challenge the community to raise 130,000 dollars. The donor and the board will match that $130,000 creating an opportunity for the clinic to gain over a quarter of a million dollars total.

Rorie Orgeron of The Kitchen says the money is critical to pay for medication, for one thing.

He says last year, the clinic filled over 48,000 prescriptions, and this year, the clinic is on pace to fill over 56,000 prescriptions.

In addition to its regular clientele, the clinic has been averaging 91 new people coming in each month. Bob Schutz is the president of the Kitchen Board of Trustees. He says despite the clinic’s best efforts, it is simply not able to meet the staggering demand it’s facing right now.

Schutz says right now, the volunteers at the clinic draw straws to determine who has to go out and tell the patients in the waiting room that they can't be seen that day. He says this challenge grant is all about lessening that burden.

Schutz says many people don’t realize The Kitchen’s clinic serves a variety of patients who have nowhere else to go.

He says it's not just the homeless; it's the people you see at church and at the supermarket who might be able to buy food, but who don't have funds for medical care.

The Kitchen says whoever would like to pitch in and try to meet the $130,000 challenge grant can do so by sending a check to the main office at 1630 North Jefferson in Springfield, or by stopping by. For more information, you can call 417-837-1500.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.

LINKS:The Kitchen, Inc.