Community partners bring free medicine to Meals on Wheels participants

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 10, 2017

N.C. MedAssist held a free over-the-counter medicine giveaway for Rowan and Cabarrus counties in late September.

The giveaway was made possible by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

In an effort to reach homebound people in Rowan County, staff members from N.C. MedAssist and Cardinal Innovations reached out to Meals on Wheels Rowan, providing a medicine order form to Meals on Wheels recipients. Volunteer shoppers filled each order.

Orders for allergy, cold and pain relief medicines; first aid supplies; creams; and vitamins were filled. Meals on Wheels staffers collected the orders. Cardinal Innovations staffers delivered five boxes of more than 70 OTC orders to the Meals on Wheels office the following Monday.

During the last week of September and first week of October, Meals on Wheels volunteers delivered meals and the over-the-counter medicine orders.

“The participants were so grateful,” said Sandy Combs, program director. “Several called to say thank you, others left messages after office hours, and many hugged the volunteer delivering the personal OTC order.”

Cindy Fink, executive director of Meals on Wheels Rowan, said, “Research shows that many of the individuals who receive home-delivered meals often choose between buying groceries or medicine. Homebound seniors can continue to live independently with support from agencies like Meals on Wheels and terrific community partners like N.C. MedAssist and Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.”

Meals on Wheels Rowan provides nearly 200 meals weekdays across Rowan County to homebound seniors and disabled people. Funding is provided by donors, grants, foundations and the United Way. All participants are encouraged to contribute to the meal program cost according to their financial resources. For those without the financial capability, funding is provided by the Home Care Community Block Grant, the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation, and the Margaret Woodson Foundation.

“Anytime we can offer resources like free OTC medicines or referrals for additional services, we help homebound seniors and disabled citizens live independently in their own homes,” Combs said.

“N.C. MedAssist enjoys working with Cardinal Innovations Healthcare to give back to our neighbors in need,” said CEO Lori Giang. “Through our partnership, we are able to reach more and more individuals and educate them on our free resources. No one should go without medicine, and this program enables us to reach those who are unaware of our services.”

Last fiscal year, MedAssist distributed more than $5.4 million of donated OTC medication to individuals and clinic partners. There are more than 20,000 people in Cabarrus and Rowan counties who live below the federal poverty level and do not qualify for insurance.

For more on the OTC program and N.C. MedAssist, visit Meals on Wheels Rowan is a United Way member agency.