NC MedAssist and Cardinal Innovations provide free meals

Originally posted November 6, 2017 in Independent Tribune

KANNAPOLIS- NC MedAssist held a free Over the Counter (OTC) Medicine Giveaway Day for Rowan and Cabarrus Counties in late September. The event was made possible by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

But a walk-in event such as this has its limitations because only individuals who are mobile or have caregiver assistance can participate.

In an effort to reach homebound individuals in Rowan County, staff from NC MedAssist and Cardinal Innovations Healthcare reached out to Meals on Wheels Rowan. They provided an OTC order form to all Meals on Wheels participant and had volunteer personal shoppers fill each order.

“NC MEdAssist enjoys working with Cardinal Innovations Healthcare to give back to our neighbors in need,” stated 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.”

Meals on Wheels participants ordered products such as allergy, cold or pain relief medicines, first aid supplies, creams or vitamins. Meals on Wheels staff collected the orders and forwarded them to the event at AL Brown High School.

Cardinal Innovations staff delivered five boxes of over 70 OTC orders to the Meals on Wheels office the following Monday.

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

When asked about the response from participants who received OTC deliveries, Sandy Combs, Program Director, exclaimed, “the participants were so grateful, several called to say thank you, others left messages after office hours, and many hugged the volunteer delivering the personal OTC order.”

This was the first OTC event held to be held in Kannapolis. NC MEdAssist’s overall goal is to help ease the burden on those who are making the choice between buying food or purchasing medication.

“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 NC MedAssist and Cardinal Innovations Healthcare,” Cindy Fink, executive director of Meals on Wheels Rowan, said.

Meals on Wheels Rowan provides nearly 200 meals every Monday-Friday across Rowan County to homebound seniors and disabled citizens. Funding is provided by individual 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.

Volunteers offer each participant a friendly greeting and a nutritious meal while providing an informal safety check.

“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,” Meals on Wheels Program Director Sandy Combs said.

Last fiscal year, NC MedAssist distributed more than $5.4 million dollars of donated OTC medication to North Carolina individuals and clinic partners.

“Cardinal Innovations is committed to ensuring that our members throughout North Carolina have access to community-based care that addresses both physical and behavioral health,” said Amy Kendall, Chief Administrative Officer. “We believe that caring for the whole person gives our members the very best chance at living meaningful, well lives and that by supporting committed community partners like MedAssist, we can achieve our shared vision of improving the health and wellness of North Carolina’s most vulnerable citizens.”

There are currently more than 20,000 people in Cabarrus and Rowan County that live below the Federal Poverty Level and do not qualify for insurance. For more on the OTC Program and NC MedAssist, please visit Meals on Wheels Rowan is a United Way Member Agency.

About NC MedAssist

Founded in 1997, NC MedAssist is a statewide non-profit pharmacy that provides free prescription medicines to low-income, uninsured North Carolinians. NC MedAssist offers three programs that address the needs of children and adults: the Free Pharmacy Program, the Over the Counter (OTC) Medicine Program and the Senior Care Program. NC MedAssist dispenses more than $48.5 million worth of free prescription medication to 15,000 low-income North Carolinians each year.