Annual Grants provide funding for mobility, medical care, and veterans

The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation awarded funding for Mobility Mania, Project Care Free Clinic, and Pike for Vets during their Annual Grants Cycle.

“It is amazing that we are already past mid-February and we still have more to tell you about the wonderful programs that the Community Foundation supported during our Annual Grant Cycle. I am overwhelmed by the generosity and compassion of the people in the Greater Itasca Area Community,” says Sarah Copeland, Director of Grants and Programs at the Community Foundation.

Look at the programs we talk about this week: Mobility Mania, Project Care and Pike for Vets. Pike for Vets was started here back in the 1950s. Started here. Ken Hickman wrote a book about Pike for Vets. Then we have Project Care. Some people in our community don’t have to worry about paying for medical insurance, and that’s great. However, everyone is aware that the cost of healthcare is an issue. Caring people got together as a community to make a difference to people without insurance. The first story we feature below is about Mobility Mania. Everyone can agree it must be more difficult to get around in a wheelchair. How often do we think about what that really means? Just to have access to the people, places, and activities that are available is not that simple. (Did you know that the local supporters of Mobility Mania set a World Record? It’s true. We set a World Record a couple years ago for the longest moving wheelchair line.)

Mobility Mania Accessibility provides transportation for people in wheelchairs

[PHOTO: L to R: Peter McDermott, MDI President & CEO; Carolyn Eck; Myrna Peterson; Brianna Spry, Program Administrator, Grand Rapids Are Community Foundation; Judy Walsh; Bruce Tholen, Care Cab and Lisa Arnold discuss ways to make accessibility possible for all Itasca Area residents.]

Mobility Mania offers people in wheelchairs transportation to attend community and family events when public transportation is not available. The program provides transportation to any person in a wheelchair and one passenger, regardless of age or financial status, within the Grand Rapids city limits, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Affordable transportation is scarce on evenings and weekends for those confined to a wheelchair to attend an activity other than a medical appointment. Often these people feel excluded.

“It is our purpose to increase accessibility awareness and to make Itasca County the showcase of accessibility in Minnesota and to raise financial capital for local accessibility needs,” says Myrna Peterson, Mobility Advocate.

Mobility Mania allows people confined to wheelchairs, without transportation to be more active in our community and participate in family functions they might otherwise not be able to attend. A person in a wheelchair will be able to go to a movie, school and sporting events, concerts, funerals, weddings, reunions without financial burden to them or their family. There is no accessible taxi for public transportation available in Grand Rapids. Current accessible bus transportation is not available after 4 p.m. or on weekends for most residents. Care Cab North is providing the transportation at a reduced rate to Mobility Mania.

“Many people are probably not aware that if you can even find transportation that accommodates a wheelchair, the cost would be somewhere around $50 just to get to and from a local, in-town activity,” notes Copeland. “Give Chris Fulton, our Executive Director, a call. We have a Mobility Mania fund, and can provide you with information about how to donate or get involved in helping all our neighbors have access to the wonderful indoor and outdoor activities we all enjoy.”

A grant from the Peter Burich and Gloria Sella Burich Fund will help residents to be more mobile and active.

Project Care - providing free medical care and education in Grand Rapids, Hibbing and Ely

[PHOTO: L to R: Pam Dowell and Carrie Estey-Dix accept a grant from Chris Fulton, Executive Director, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation.]

Project Care provides outpatient health care access and outreach to people who are uninsured and underinsured, while networking with other community-based organizations to facilitate continued treatment, screenings, and education.

“Project Care is one of a kind in the area, to be more precise, - in all of Northern Minnesota,” says Carrie Estey-Dix, Clinic Coordinator, Project Care Free Clinic. “We believe in assisting individuals and families in the process to be healthy and productive citizens in the community.”

Project Care offers basic medical care, lab, diagnostic imaging, diabetic education, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, mental health services, MNSURE Navigating, advocating services for specialty providers, and preventative and education classes. It is a nonprofit clinic dedicated to providing medical services to the uninsured and underinsured population of three Iron Range communities; Hibbing, Grand Rapids, and Virginia since 2010.

Services are provided at no cost to the patient. Education and Prevention programs are offered to everyone in the community regardless of their insurance status or income. Patients that do not qualify for one reason or another are not turned away without an in-depth discussion about their needs and advocating services that are available to guide them in a direction to further assist them. People who utilize Project Care clinics are primarily low-income patients that are not eligible for medical assistance or MNCARE. Statistically at least one adult in the household is employed.

Project Care Free Clinic is located at 100 NW 3rd Street in Grand Rapids (across the street from the Herald Review) and open every Tuesday from 5:30 – 7:30PM. The Edgar and Hannah Hetteen Fund is providing funding for the Grand Rapids Clinic.

Pike For Vets supplies walleye fillets to veterans

[PHOTO: L to R: Brianna Spry presents a grant to Joe Maurer, Dorothy Pollard and Roy LeDoux to support the Pike for Vets program.]

Pike for Vets has been providing walleye fillets to the Fort Snelling Veterans’ Hospital and the Silver Bay Veterans’ Home since 1950. Volunteers gather the walleye fillets through: individual donations, work with fishing tournament directors, attendance at tournament weigh-ins and by gathering donations from other various anglers in the area.

Pike for Vets’ primary expense is mileage and any need to purchase additional walleye fillets for the Silver Bay Veterans Home. The program currently provides 350 pounds of fish to the Fort Snelling Veterans’ Hospital, which serves veterans at a special dinner and at celebrations on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. Copeland adds, “You really should run down to the library and check out the Pike for Vets book by Ken Hickman. This program has a rich history of what our area does for veterans.” The Peter Burich and Gloria Sella Burich Fund is providing funding to Pike for Vets.

The Board of Directors and staff at the Community Foundation send a huge thank you to our donors who participate in our Annual Grant Cycle and directly assist us in our mission of making our community a better place to live for all.

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350 NW 1st Ave, Suite E  | Grand Rapids, MN 55744  |  218-999-9100

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