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Fund established at CRCF to bring free pop-up clinic back to Cattaraugus County

Tue, May 25th 2021 01:00 pm

A group of local organizers, working in collaboration with the nonprofit Remote Area Medical – RAM®, recently established the RAM Fund of Cattaraugus County at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation to bring a RAM free pop-up clinic back to Cattaraugus County in September.

This will be RAM’s second pop-up clinic held in Cattaraugus County. The first clinic was held in 2017 at St. Bonaventure University and provided approximately 400 residents with more than $188,000 worth of dental, vision, and medical services free of charge.

RAM is a national nonprofit organization that brings medical professionals from all over the country to volunteer their services at free pop-up clinics that serve uninsured and underinsured people who may not be able to otherwise afford dental, vision, or medical care.

According to local community organizer Reed McElfresh, also of BonaResponds, the clinic is needed more now than ever.

“The pandemic has further isolated uninsured and underserved individuals from nearby rural areas who do not have the access to quality, health, dental, and optometric care,” said McElfresh. “The economic impact of the pandemic has also prevented those who have lost jobs from seeking expensive healthcare services.”

The free clinic will be held Saturday and Sunday, September 11-12 at SUNY Jamestown Community College’s Cattaraugus County Campus in Olean, NY.

The RAM Fund of Cattaraugus County will allow the public and area businesses to provide tax-deductible financial support for the free clinic. According to McElresh, $30,000 in financial support must be raised for the clinic by Sept. 1.

The local steering committee for this event decided to utilize the services of CRCF to enable its fundraising efforts. The steering committee is comprised of: Jim Mahar and Reed McElfresh (BonaResponds); SUNY Jamestown Community College faculty and staff, led by Paula Snyder (executive director of the Cattaraugus County Campus); Meme Yanetsko (chief operating officer, Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce); Karen Fohl (director for strategic partnerships, Upper Allegheny Health System); Scott Medler (associate professor of physician assistance studies, St. Bonaventure University); Kim Rossi (president, Greater Olean Association of Churches); Frank Morales (director, St. Bonaventure University Veteran Services); Kevin D’Angelo (clinical instructor of restorative dentistry, University at Buffalo); Kevin Watkins (public health director, Cattaraugus County); and many professional and non-professional volunteers.

CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit applauded the steering committee’s efforts and its vision.

“At CRCF we supported the first RAM clinic in 2017, and the results were incredible, but one of the first things that was discussed in the days following was the hope that this could return again,” said Buchheit. “Providing this resource for those that otherwise do not have access to medical care is essential.”

Donations can be made to the RAM Fund of Cattaraugus County at CRCF, 301 North Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY 14760, or online at cattfoundation.org.

Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email [email protected], or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).


About Remote Area Medical: RAM is a major nonprofit organization that operates pop-up clinics delivering free, quality dental, vision, and medical services to underserved and uninsured individuals who do not have access to or cannot afford a doctor. Since RAM was founded in 1985, more than 173,000 volunteers -- comprised of licensed dental, vision, and medical professionals, as well as general support staff -- have treated more than 863,000 individuals delivering $174 million worth of free healthcare services. RAM has held clinics in locations such as Tennessee, Louisiana, Idaho, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Guyana, Haiti, and the Bahamas.