Danville, VA-- A healthcare organization in our area has hit a huge milestone this month.
The Free Clinic of Danville is celebrating 20 years of serving folks in Danville and Pittsylvania County. They first opened in a church basement just doing primary medical care. Now they own their facility, have expanded to having dozens of services, and serve hundreds every year.
It all started in 1993 in the basement of the Church of the Epiphany in Danville, when some local physicians saw a need for free healthcare in the area.
"I think they had about seven patients that night and they sort of just had blankets and things that partitioned off a couple of room so they could see their first patients," said Denise Buckner, Free Clinic of Danville Executive Director.
The Free Clinic of Danville, only operated one night a week. But in 2007, when the economy took a turn for the worse, the clinic's demand skyrocketed.
"Our patient population picked up," Buckner said. "It's very difficult to treat three, four, five hundred patients with just a Tuesday evening clinic, so we felt like we had to find a Monday through Friday provider to come in and serve those needs."
The clinic now has their own building, with more hours and more services.
"We have ophthalmology, we have gynecology and we have some psychiatric services so it has expanded tremendously," said Phyllis Scarce, Free Clinic of Danville Nurse Practitioner.
Buckner said they're not federally funded, so it's the support of volunteers and donations from the community that's kept them going all these years.
"We've got a lot of blessings from this community," said Buckner.
"I really think we are making a great impact on the community because every day all day long someone is calling needing the help of the free clinic and we are there to help them," said Brenda Conyers, Free Clinic of Danville receptionist.