116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Eight area nonprofits received a total of $150,000 from Mercy Medical Center’s new Health Equity Fund, which will be used to provide access to behavioral health services, safe and affordable housing, food and support people experiencing homelessness.
“To advance health equity, we are pleased to support and partner with these local organizations that are engaging in strategies to address the root causes of poor health,” said Melissa Cullum, Mercy’s director of community benefit in a news release last month.
The largest amount of funding awarded to Willis Dady Homeless Services is going toward case management services provided by its supportive housing program.
“Individuals experiencing (homelessness) don’t have access to preventive health care,” said Alicia Faust, executive director of Willis Dady. “They’re forgotten a lot when it comes to health equity, and we wanted to support all our clients basic needs.“
Matthew 25 received $25,000 from the Health Equity Grant to be used toward its new Cultivate Hope Corner Store.
The Corner Store, 604 Ellis Blvd. NW, Cedar Rapids, is a nonprofit store operated by Matthew 25, bringing reduced-cost, healthy food options to the Time Check neighborhood. The store opened in April and is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The store even has a selection of free produce, which a portion of the grant will go toward, said Jana Bodensteiner, chief development officer at Matthew 25.
The grant also will go toward its to-go meals, which are healthy and delicious and priced at around $3 to $5, Bodensteiner said. “Meals are flying off the shelf,” she said.
Bodensteiner also said the corner store wants to offer free delivery and more educational workshops.
“The store is open to everybody,” Bodensteiner said. “We really need people who have some more means to shop there because it helps keep our doors open.”
The store accepts donations of fresh produce from people’s gardens, eggs and other fresh food items.
Tanager Place is using its portion of the grant from Mercy — $20,000 — toward helping families pay their copays, a flat fee is paid on the spot each time you go to your doctor or fill a prescription.
“Even when you have insurance, there’s such a wide array of what insurance covers,” Tanager Place CEO Okpara Rice said. “Some of our families are really struggling with copays, which can be a barrier for services.”
Other recipients of Mercy’s Health Equity Fund are:
- His Hands Free Clinic, which received $15,000;
- Kids First Law Center, which received $12,500;
- HACAP Food Reservoir, which received $10,000;
- Horizons Family Services, which received $10,000;
- And Olivet Neighborhood Mission, which received $12,500.
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