Mission Clinic marks 20 years of serving county's needy

Friday, June 14, 2013

BERRYVILLE -- The Mission Clinic of Berryville will hold a reception celebrating the clinic's 20 years in operation and 20 years of volunteer service by Virginia Benefiel, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 15 at the clinic at 700 S. Main St. in Berryville.

The Mission Clinic is a registered non-profit charitable organization that provides free primary health care to people who are in need of medical attention but cannot afford it. Patients make donations for the service provided in whatever amount they can afford.

The clinic was founded in 1993 by Dr. Sean Murphy, a member of the Little Portion monastic community in Carroll County; it originally was called "The Little Flower Clinic."

Doctors, nurses and non-medical volunteers operate the facility. None of them receive any payment for their work at the clinic.

Patients are not required to show evidence of their financial situation, their religion or their residency status. The clinic treats patients whose condition is chronic or those who require medical supervision, but no emergency treatment is provided.

Clinic sessions are held every Friday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. until everyone has been seen.

The clinic serves 70 to 80 patients each month; approximately 70 percent are Caucasian and 30 percent are Hispanic.

When it first began seeing patients, the clinic operated out of the monastery's fruit and vegetable stand on Highway 62, by the old Kings River Bridge. The clinic moved to its current location in 2009.

In 2012, the clinic received support from local contractors and merchants to expand their building with a new waiting area and an office for administration. A grant from Mercy Foundation, plus help from the Walton Foundation, Catholic Campaign for Human Developments and others, allowed this work to be completed without incurring debt for the clinic, officials there said.

A volunteer Board of Directors from several different Christian denominations guides clinic activities. The clinic provides medical care to the extent that its resources permit but does not use patient contact as an opportunity for evangelization or recruitment to any church, according to its website. The clinic has no political affiliation and does not lobby or promote any agenda.

Carroll County Community Foundation also has provided grant support for the clinic, and fundraising events have been held by the local 4-H, Berryville High School EAST Lab, Eureka Chocolate Festival, and some local businesses. Area churches, civic organizations and residents provide cash contributions and donate services to sustain the work of the clinic.

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