"Today is all about you and celebrating what the Lord has done at The Mercy Ministries in 2017,"
began Carly Benton, TMM Director. "Sometimes we don't stop long enough after an event to stop and say 'thank you' to Jesus, and to others who helped, before we're on to the next task or event. Today, we're taking the time to celebrate those of you who made Mercy's success possible in 2017, and thanking God for so many answered prayers!"
Carly went on to list many prayer requests that answers were needed for in 2017 in order for Mercy to continue meeting the needs of its 500+ patients. One of those prayer requests included hosting Mercy's first fundraising event in eighteen months. The Love In Action Fundraising Luncheon was held on November 30, 2017, and Benton went on to report its great success!
"Because of all of your support and hard work, we raised $165,035 in cash and pledges over the next five years, We also added twelve people to Mercy's Giving Society (someone who donates a set amount for 5 years), The Giving Society is important because we can take care of a patient for just $1,000 a year, or just $83 a month, and having people pledge to support our patients long-term helps us focus more on our mission of sharing the gospel and getting people back into life," said Benton. "Also, we had $15,000 donated as a Leadership Challenge Gift of 2017 by River of Life Outreach, Truax Veneer, and Beasley Forest Products. Plus, EKG Securities gave a $1,000 sponsorship gift. In all, we raised a total of $181,035 in cash, pledges, sponsorship gifts, and leadership gifts at our November 2017 fundraising luncheon!"
"And, today we're celebrating you, thanks to Dr. Ronald Mosley, our Mercy Dental Clinic Volunteer Director, who has provided us with this delicious, Downtown Bistro meal here at The Key," Benton said.
In 2017 TMM saw: 12 patients come to know Christ as their personal Savior, 28 patients completed one of the Mercy University classes, and 47 patients graduated from Mercy, meaning they obtained a job and/or insurance coverage and no longer needed Mercy's services.
"All of this was because of YOU!" Benton continued before introducing Mercy patient, Gail Barwisck.
Barwick had first come to Mercy to attend an educational "60 Minutes With Mercy" tour with a friend, and then decided to take Mercy University's Work Life class. Also, Barwick had no insurance and didn't qualify for any government assistance programs, so she decided to apply to be a Mercy Medical Clinic patient. She was in for quite a surprise after her initial visits. "I never could've guessed they would diagnose me with cancer. I thank God every day for Mercy, and how Meadows Health and Dr. Norkus helped me," said Barwick. "If they hadn't taken me in, I wouldn't be here today. They helped me get my cancer surgery, and I go next week to find out if I am, for sure, cancer free. Best of all, after taking the Mercy University classes, I've decided to go back to school and be an accountant. My story isn't over yet. It's just beginning!"
Following applause from the crowd, Benton shared the 2018 Goals of TM:
"We would like to see 250 new guests at the next fundraising luncheon on November 29, 2018. We'd like for at least half of those to have come through one of our "60 Minutes With Mercy" tours, and we'd like to add 25 guests to our Giving Society, pledging more than $1,000 a year for the next five years. We would like to raise another $180,000 in cash and pledges, with an additional challenge gift of $25,000," Benton continued. "However, the only way we will make this happen is if we continue to spread the word about Mercy through our '60 Minutes With Mercy' tours. Here to tell you more about that is our Director of Development, Casey Hutcheson."
"Thank you, Carly," said Hutcheson as she grabbed the mic. "Yes, our greatest need at Mercy is to continue to spread awareness in the community about what we do. So many still do not know about our services, our new website, or even where we're located. We are looking for people who are passionate about TMM to become Volunteer Ambassadors. The Ambassador Program of TMM is a special group of people who agree to bring ten or so people to a tour. As an Ambassador, they would be helping spread the word about how TMM is filling in the gap of our healthcare system for patients in and around Toombs County who find themselves underserved. Ambassadors can host a tour at our facility, their place of business, or even their home. One thing is for sure, you won't regret it. Guests will not only meet our staff and volunteers, but also hear patient testimonies, like Ms. Barwick, while on the tour. If you're interested in hosting a tour, please let me know and let's get one scheduled for sometime in the next 60 days."
Benton took to the mic again to, again, say 'thank you' to all those who helped make 2017 successful, and who celebrated with Mercy at the luncheon, reminding us to schedule a tour and help Mercy spread awareness, helping us say 'YES' to more patients, truly lending a voice to them by sharing both their needs, and their triumphs!
Mercy is grateful for 2017, and looking forward to all the ones we've yet to meet in 2018. It's going to be another miraculous year. Thank you for being a part of our Mercy family!