With the rising cost of health care, and many people having a difficult time affording prescription medication, one local organization has stepped in to fill the need. The Staunton River Medical Center Committee, inc. is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, with a goal to, “promote comprehensive health care to citizens of our community and the surrounding areas who are in need,” according to committee chairman Charley Lewis.

The organization was founded the in 1990s and The Staunton River Medical Center was chartered. The members help provide, life-sustaining and short term medications to patients who are unable to afford them.

“We are a pharmacy-assistance program. Right now there are about seven people on the committee, and we meet when needed to discuss plans, needs and updates,” said Lewis. There are not specific eligibility guidelines to use the group’s services, Lewis said, “It’s just being in need of a prescription medication, or medical equipment, and not being able to afford it on your own.”

The committee has been around for almost thirty years, and has been consistently working to help members of the community, and the surrounding area, get the medication and supplies they need.

“A lot of people don’t know that this type of help is available,” said Lewis.

Lewis said if eligible it’s simple to use the program’s services.

“The process is simple. You go to the doctor and get a prescription, have the doctor call in the prescription to The Medicine Shoppe in Altavista.”

The committee only works with the Medicine Shoppe, “because they are a local business, and we can set it up where they speak to us directly, and the person can go in and get their prescription, and then we square up the bill,” said Lewis.

With so many people to help, the committee gets funds through raffles, fundraisers, and monetary donations.

“We’ve made and sold T-shirts, 50/50 raffle tickets, hot dogs, whatever it takes,” according to Lewis. The Altavista Walmart recently donated a television that was used for a raffle.

The Committee has teamed up with local Altavista sewing group, Sew Sisters, to raffle off a handmade quilt to raise money for this program.

Mary Shields, a member of the Sew Sisters, said making the quilt was a group effort.

“As a group we selected fabric, made blocks, and helped with assembling,” said Shields. She noted that, “The back was quilted with swirls and stars by Carol Day, and I did the binding.”

Staunton River Medical Center Committee is now selling raffle tickets as a fundraiser. The price for each raffle ticket is $2, and the drawing date is not until March 16, 2121 at 6 p.m. at St. Victoria’s parish hall. If the winner is not present they will be contacted by phone. For ticket information, contact Charley Lewis at 434-259-1601, or Fran Lawhorne at English’s Home Center 434-369-4771. Tickets will be available starting next week. Those who are interested in the program should also call Charley Lewis for more information on volunteering, monetary donation or questions about help with prescription medications.

Those wishing to mail donations can send them to the following address:

Staunton River Medical Center Committee

PO Box 172

Altavista, VA 24517