Wish List: Kennewick's Grace Clinic needs volunteers, donations

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldDecember 21, 2013 

Grace Clinic wish list

Grace Clinic volunteer Dr. Jeanne Berretta, center, and Oreson State University pre-med student Emily Thompson, right, meet with patient Debbie Goad of Kennewick at Grace Clinic in Kennewick. Crace Cinic needs more volunteers including doctors like Berretta.

PAUL T. ERICKSON — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

w Editor's Note: This month the Herald is featuring a series of stories on the Holiday Wish Lists of Mid-Columbia nonprofits and how you can help.

Dr. Jeanne Berretta started volunteering for the nonprofit Grace Clinic not long after it opened more than a decade ago.

For her, the work has been rewarding -- and something more.

"It's something I feel there's a real calling to do," Berretta told the Herald. "I feel like there's a gap, there's a need, and I have the skill set to do it. It's giving back to your community."

The clinic on West Canal Drive in Kennewick is looking for others like Berretta to give back in the same way. It needs more medical providers, such as physicians and nurse practitioners, particularly those in primary care, to volunteer their services -- even just one four-hour shift a month.

Donations to help support the clinic's operations also top its holiday wish list.

Grace Clinic provides free medical care and other related services, including mental health counseling, to low-income, uninsured people in the Tri-Cities. Although it's not run by a church, it's rooted in Christianity and its mission is to "bring Christ's love and healing to those in need."

It's the only free clinic for the uninsured in the community and sees about 600 patients a month, said Mark Brault, president.

The need for its services isn't going away, even with the implementation of federal health care reform. Only about 20 percent of the estimated 48,000 uninsured in Benton and Franklin counties are expected to get health coverage next year, according to information on the clinic's website.

"The need in the community is very significant," Brault said.

Grace Clinic has an annual budget of about $500,000, with support principally coming from the local United Way, service clubs, churches and individuals in the community.

The clinic recently celebrated a $10,000 donation from First United Methodist Church in Kennewick to go toward an electronic medical records system, although it still needs more funding for that project, as well as general operations. Along with medical providers, the clinic could also use volunteers to help with cleaning around the facility.

For more information, call 735-2300 or go to www.gracecliniconline.org.

w Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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