Friends Helping Friends - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/1/04 - Longview

Friends Helping Friends

They started with just 75 participants. One year later, nearly 300 people, on fixed incomes, are getting their prescription drugs "free" in Rusk county.

Because of the overwhelming response, volunteers need your help to keep the program going.

A year ago Faye Cain found it difficult to buy her prescription medication each month and still pay the rest of her bills. "At one point in time my medication was over $400 just for two medicines," says Faye.

Faye was not alone. A Henderson doctor's office realizing many of their own patients had trouble paying for their prescriptions, decided to do something about it. "The program was a grass roots effort in the Trinity Clinic office here in Henderson. Dr McCrahee, he saw a need that was really beginning to get out of hand in the community," says Roberta Vallantyne.

The idea became a non-profit organization. Executive director, Roberta Vallantyne, says anyone who meets the basic federal poverty guidelines will qualify.

There are currently 290 people participating in the program with more being added everyday.

Henderson Memorial hospital has provided help but with such a need, volunteers say they are desperate for more donations. "It'll take approximately $20,000 a year to keep the program afloat each year," says Roberta.

Faye is getting the help she needs to pay for her medication but she's also helping others do the same.   Last year she became a volunteer for "Friends Helping Friends".

"People don't understand really how the elderly people- what they're going through," says Faye.

Faye and the other volunteers say, help from the community can ease their burden.

The "Friends Heping Fiends" program is available to Rsk county residents.

To find out if you're eligible, or to make a donation, the number to call is 903-655-3936.

Amy Tatum reporting. 

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