Serving communities in need the world over and here at home
Article by Ozzy Samad
Over the last few years, you may have seen that as BBF’s relief and development work around the world continue in earnest, we have made a concerted effort to address the needs of underserved community members here at home. Quite often, BBF’s responses domestically are more visible in the disaster relief area, with Hurricane Ida off the Louisiana and Texas coast and the condominium collapse in Miami coming to mind most recently.
As we researched areas where BBF could make a difference in our community, the two programs outlined below stood out as potentially being most impactful and a natural fit for our healthcare efforts. After extensive analysis and evaluation, we are pleased to tell you that BBF is committed to bringing them to fruition with one community clinic event already having taken place. The ongoing funding for the programs will be supported through our Annual Golf Event, with the inaugural one having been a tremendous success earlier this summer!
The first program is an Optometry Mobile Health Clinic (MHC) which will be run in collaboration with Project Theia and local healthcare providers. The clinic will conduct eye and diabetes screenings in communities in need, provide prescription glasses to those who require them, and refer patients with additional medical needs to our partner healthcare providers. BBF received a $125,000 grant from an organization that heretofore had been a trusted and reliable PPE vendor all through COVID-19. When the CEO learnt of our plans and the potential for having multiple such MHCs, his response was “I’ll do the first one.” It was a complete surprise and gave the program a tremendous boost right out of the gate. We are currently in the process of acquiring the van which will then be converted to the Optometry MHC. The now infamous supply chain delays notwithstanding, the clinic should be in service in January of 2022!
The second program, in collaboration with Allen Place Community Services and BBF’s own Trustee, Dr. William Simmons, along with volunteer physicians, nurses, and community organizations, holds free Diabetes Screening, Nutrition, and Information Symposiums in underserved community areas. The first of these clinics was held on October 2nd, 2021, on the North Side of Pittsburgh near BBF’s facilities. Complementary Covid-19 and Flu vaccines were provided at the event along with blood glucose and HbA1c checks. Volunteer Podiatrists and Ophthalmologists also provided foot and eye screenings which can provide critical information about the onset of diabetes. There was also an emphasis on adopting sound nutritional habits and a healthy lifestyle. In all, there were 20 community organizations represented at the event which included multiple medical society volunteers, foodbanks, the neighborhood Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), and motivation and fitness coaches. The clinic could not have been better received and we intend to sponsor a similar one this coming spring!
Thank you for your ongoing support of BBF’s programs – the impact you are making is felt both here at home and around the world!