Community of Hope Health Clinic’s fundraiser exceeds expectations, raises more than $60,000

Published 11:37 am Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

PELHAM – The Community of Hope Health Clinic found unexpected success at its fifth annual CHHC Fundraiser, on Tuesday, May 7, when the event surpassed expectations by more than $10,000.

What began as an ambitious effort to raise $50,000 toward the CHHC and its work for the betterment of those suffering for severe poverty in Shelby County, turned into an occasion worth celebrating when donors rallied together to contribute more than $60,000 by the close of the evening.

“The turnout was amazing for this event,” said Justin Johnston, executive director of CHHC. “We had never had more than 120 attend and we had a lot of new faces in the crowd—which was good because it allowed us to not only give people a first glimpse into who we were, but more importantly (to show) how the clinic (has) added so many services since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Featuring a guest list of nearly 190 people, the organization’s annual fundraiser was held at the Pelham Civic Complex this year with AmFirst serving as its presenting sponsor. The event also featured Jody Fuller as the night’s keynote speaker.

Fuller, a native of Opelika, is known as a veteran, comedian, writer and motivational speaker who commonly speaks on his work toward overcoming both childhood poverty and the management of a severe stutter.

Johnston said the initial goal for the event hoped to raise $50,000 toward the efforts of helping those in poverty with services that include providing access to primary care, physical therapy, dermatology, prenatal/postpartum checks, an on-site dispensary and mental health and counseling services.

While at the event, CHHC Treasurer and Board Member Mike Northrup, who also works for AmFirst as a senior vice president, announced his intention to have his beard and head shaved should the fundraising goal of $50,0000 be met.

By the end of the event, donors had not only surpassed that goal, but added an additional $10,000 in donations for good measure.

“On Friday, I did two live videos via the CHHC Facebook page in which I shaved at the clinic and then at home I had my wife help me cut use clippers to remove my hair,” Johnston said.

The program for the event included a newly produced promotional video for the clinic, volunteer and patient testimonials and a 25-minute-long stand-up and speaking set by Fuller that included an altered version of his comedy routine that tied in to service and giving back to the community.

“To raise that much money in one night is amazing for the clinic,” Johnston said. “On this one evening, we raised about double of what we had ever raised in one night. But we cannot stop there. Because we would like to continue to see if we can get to the next level by eventually raising $100,000 through this campaign. We’ve also set up a crowdsourcing platform to account for many of the unforeseen expenses the clinic has incurred this year.”

The Community of Hope Health Clinic is a free and charitable nonprofit clinic located in Pelham that provides services to Shelby County residents who live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and do not have access to private insurance or government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid or VA benefits.

Founded in 2008, CHHC moved to its present location in Pelham at 1970 Chandalar Office Park Circle in 2023.

CHHC is a Volunteers in Medicine Clinic (VIM). VIM is a national non-profit organization that was founded in 2001 in North Carolina. The organization is dedicated to building a network of free primary health care clinics for those in the population that are medically underserved, including those without health insurance. Since 2021, VIM’s free clinic program has been part of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.

Those in search of more information are encouraged to visit or to donate to the organization’s efforts at