The Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, a Vancouver-based organization that provides free health care services for people who are uninsured, is gearing up for its largest fundraiser of the year, which is slated for May 5.
The annual Sam Beall breakfast fundraiser — named after the organization’s founder — went virtual last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will be held virtually this year as well. The organization hopes to raise $40,000 at the event, a needed boost after an arduous year for health care providers.
“It’s been an interesting year for the clinic with COVID,” said spokeswoman Pam Knepper. “It finally looks like we’re coming out of it, but as a health care provider, we’re mindful of keeping everyone safe.”
Health care services provided by the clinic, at 4100 Plomondon St., are made possible by the organization’s some 300 volunteers — doctors, nurses, dentists and more who offer their services free of charge.
The organization serves roughly 6,500 uninsured patients a year, according to Knepper.
The organization saw a reduction in volunteers throughout the pandemic, Knepper said. Many of the organization’s volunteers are retired health care professionals, and some had to pause their services to avoid risking exposure. Now, as COVID-19 cases are beginning to abate, many volunteers are returning, and the clinic is offering increased services.