Community Pharmacy Needs Help - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/02/03

Community Pharmacy Needs Help

The rising cost of prescription drugs threatens to shutdown a community pharmacy that helps the needy.

For five years, St. Vincent de Paul community pharmacy has handed out free medicine to those who can't afford it. The pharmacy spends some twelve thousand dollars a month on prescription drugs and relies on private donations to pay the bill.

They fill the waiting room every Thursday. The clients of St. Vincent de Paul pharmacy share a similar need. But each one has a personal story.

Susie Jimerson says the program is a real life saver.

"Right now I'm not working, and my medicine, I don't have insurance or disability or anything. So it means so much to me. I just thank the Lord each and every day that we've got a place like this," she said.

The pharmacy is hard pressed to keep up with the ever increasing need. Rising drug costs mean an even greater challenge.

Monsignor James Hannon oversees the ministry.

"Every month we spend about twelve or fourteen thousand dollars in extra medicines that we don't get from doctors. Because we get doctor's sample medicines. That's a big help. But it's not enough. So, we have to supplement that," Hannon said.

Elizabeth Adams doesn't know what she'd do without the generosity of St. Vincent de Paul. A stroke last year, plus inadequate insurance, left her in a bind.

"I've had a heart attack four years ago. So, I've had heart problems as well. And they have supplied me with, I'm sure, thousands of dollars worth of medication that I couldn't live without," she said.

Pharmacy volunteers see the overwhelming need each and every Thursday. They recognize if circumstances were different, it could easily be any one of them in the waiting room.

"This is one of the easiest chores I have ever had to do. Because they do need it and who wouldn't feel good about this," said volunteer, Becky Brislin.

The volunteers and clients would feel better, knowing there's enough community support to keep this ministry going.

"Please just keep on giving. Because the more you give, the more you'll receive. It just means so much to all of us," said Susie Jimerson.

The community pharmacy needs financial donations to purchase medicine. There's also an ongoing need for volunteers.

If you can help with a donation of either time or money, call the community pharmacy at (228) 374-9097.

by Steve Phillips

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