The staff, volunteers and board members of Grace Clinic enjoyed a barbecue luncheon under sunny skies Sunday afternoon to mark the medical clinic's 10th anniversary and honor the almost 200 volunteers who make it possible.
It was held at the clinic's new building, the former Benton Franklin Health District office at 800 W. Canal Drive in Kennewick.
Mark Brault, Grace Clinic's board president, said the celebration "is a time to pause and reflect on the past 10 years. A lot has been done, but we still have a long way to go. There's still a greater need than we can meet."
The clinic started out in June 2002 by offering medical care for four hours on Saturdays. Now, it is open four days a week and serves more than 500 people a month.
The new location, which is 3,000-square-feet larger than the clinic's present location on Clearwater Avenue, will allow the clinic to double its dental chairs to four, increase the number of counseling rooms and add vision services, Brault said.
Building and floor plans have been drawn up, and Brault said the clinic plans to begin remodeling in the near future.
Grace Clinic is a faith-based, nondenominational free medical clinic for anyone in Benton and Franklin counties and Burbank who either has no health insurance or whose income falls below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, or less than $44,700 for a family of four.
It's the only free medical clinic in the Tri-City area.
"We did a survey recently asking people who came in where would they get medical care if the clinic wasn't available. Many said they'd go to emergency rooms, but 54 percent simply said nowhere," Brault said.
"We've touched a lot of lives. I don't know anyone who doesn't get more out of working at the clinic than they give," Brault said, adding that the clinic's volunteers last year put in more than 2,200 hours of volunteer service.