In a COVID-19 World, Getting by with a little help from a Friend
Surry Medical Ministries Continues to Serve
Surry Medical Ministries
With help from a friend, SURRY MEDICAL MINISTRIES continues services
despite COVID‐19 with curbside Pharmacy and plans to ease into office visits soon.
813 ROCKFORD STREET, MOUNT AIRY,NC MAY 5,2020– SURRY MEDICAL MINISTRIES is responding to meet the needs of patients of the greater Surry County area by continuing to provide health and pharmacy services with help from a friend.
In mid‐March, our state officials told agencies, places of business to shut down. Medical offices were required to wear expensive “Haz Mat” suits to even come near a patient, but the volunteers and staff of Surry Medical Ministries Clinic (SMM) knew they had to find a way to provide some level of services to their patients. SMM is the 27‐year‐old Surry County non‐profit known for providing healthcare during hard economic times. The clinic was born in 1993 to serve through the economic wreckage post‐NAFTA. SMM leaders see many similarities today.
“We serve a segment of our community who are already struggling with low‐income and no health insurance. Many working in the retail or service sector of the economy,” said Nancy Dixon, President of the Board of Directors for SMM.
“Cutbacks in employment in these sectors has been enormous, but our job is to keep people healthy until the jobs return. Or if they don’t, then to be able‐bodied to find something else.”
Surry County Economic Development officials currently estimate after all unemployment applications are registered, this area will likely see a rate of 10% or more. This possible10% unemployment rate will rival the peak of 13% reached post‐NAFTA almost 10 years ago.
In times such as these, Dixon, the volunteers and staff of SMM know, many people may eventually need to turn to SMM for services if the jobs don’t return as unemployment runs out. “We have to be ready and for us, that means something different in 2020,” with regard to expenses, personal protection equipment, personal spacing and other factors to keep
patients and medical providers healthy and safe.
SMM never stopped providing pharmacy services despite rising costs and choked supply chains. Volunteers and staff also made medical outreach welfare calls to patients during this crisis. However, finding a procedure to resume face to face medical care was paramount to Dr. Dave Dixon, Medical Director and both Nurse Coordinators, Linda Collins, RN and Gayle McCrary, RN. Yet, for a small community‐supported largely volunteer clinic, managing these extra costs could be a huge hurdle. Securing masks for the medical providers was do‐able. But for patients? That would be a
challenge. Also… an increase in demand for services would be easily expected, thus overall operating costs would increase.
We all know, that when it seems the darkest, the dawn is just about to come. #GivingTuesdayNow is a new day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 – in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020
#GivingTuesday. This May 5 event is specifically a response to helping our community get back on their feet due to the disruption of COVID‐19. SMM celebrated a wonderful gift that symbolizes this Tuesday’s giving effort… 13‐year‐old Bill Rierson contacted Nancy Dixon and offered almost 300 masks to SMM. Bill had volunteered at SMM last semester. He knew that patients from all over Surry County depended on coming to the Clinic to stay healthy and productive. “When all of this started, I just keep thinking, what could I do to help? My dad works for Renfro. When they started making masks. I told him about the need at the clinic, how it would help so many people. He and the people at Renfro agreed.”
#GivingTuesdayNow is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world. The gift of these masks allows Dr. Dixon and the medical team to plan how to re‐open direct medical care. The rising costs in pharmacy, in potentially opening an additional day per week to provide improved access at such a crucial time are other mountains to climb as we face each day doing what we are called to do. At a time when we are all experiencing the anxiety of the unknown, generosity is what brings people of all races, faiths, and political views together across the globe. Generosity gives everyone power to make a positive change in the lives of others and is a fundamental value anyone can act on. It’s a day for everyone to stand together and give back in all ways, no matter who
or where we are.
The greater Surry County area is not a major metropolitan area. But together we have accomplished so many great things over the years. “For it is not in numbers but in unity that our great strength lies.” ‐ Thomas Paine
If you are interested in supporting Surry Medical Ministries, please visit our Facebook page, website, send an email, surrymedicalministries@gmail.