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August 1--  Three organizations are partnering to help people in our area get the medicine they need at no cost.

Rotarians and MAP International, a Christian non-profit which distributes medicine to needy nations worldwide, are starting a three-year pilot project with Mercy Ministries in Lyons which has a clinic serving more than 500 people in Toombs and surrounding counties.

mapsmedicine(L-R) Clint Hutchinson and Carly Benton of Mercy Ministries, Vidalia Rotary Club President Angie McDaniel, and MAP's representative Lo-Ann Frame and Jason Elliott with the first of several boxes of medicine which arrived at the Mercy Clinic Wednesday morning.

Mercy CEO Carly Benton says the free medicine will save lives, "One of our patients has been off her medication for five days.  She's hypertensive and she really needs to be on this blood pressure medication and she simply can't afford it.  This MAP International program is going to allow her to get her medication for free here in house at Mercy Ministries when she comes for her appointments.  It will save her life."

The Vidalia Rotary Club has reached out to Rotarians in Metter, Reidsville, Glennville, Claxton, Swainsboro and Hazlehurst to help pay for the monthly delivery, according to Vidalia Rotary Club President Angie McDaniel, "We thought it would be a great fit with Mercy because we have the clinic here and we felt like we would be able to participate as a club and that it would be a great service project for the club and the community.  We're really excited about it.  I think this is a great thing for our club to be involved in and it's really going to help a lot of people."

Rotary District 6920, which covers South Georgia, is also paying a portion of the costs and has clubs in Valdosta and Brunswick which are already working with MAP International to serve more than 1,500 people in their areas, according MAP's Martin Smith, "We've seen through our projects in Valdosta and Brunswick where people who receive these medicines are managing their disease.  They're not having to choose between their medicine and groceries or their medicine and the electric bill.  It's a tremendous benefit for the patients who have diabetes or hypertension and can't afford medication."


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