United Federal Credit Union gives $3,000 to the HERBIE clinic for six months of prescription medicine

BENTON HARBOR, MI (December 20, 2013) —  United Federal Credit Union (UFCU) contributed $3,000 to the HERBIE Clinic, which will be used to supply six months of prescription medicine for patients. Serving the uninsured in Southwest Michigan, the clinic operates from the ground floor of the Salvation Army building. The clinic is open the second Saturday of every month, from 8 a.m. to noon, where 80 to 100 patients receive care free of charge.

The clinic was founded four years ago by Doctor Sherry O’Donnell and named for the late Doctor Herbert Atkinson. HERBIE is also an acronym for ‘Healthcare and Evangelism Reaching Beyond and Including Everyone’. It fits the clinic’s mission, which is to provide whole-person care (body, soul, and spirit) to the medically- and socially-underserved through Christian principles.

“Supporting the HERBIE Clinic and other non-profits is just one way we give back to our communities,” said UFCU CEO Gary Easterling. “We inspire staff to seek out and embrace causes important to them. It’s this connection that improves the quality of life for those around us.”

UFCU has several charitable initiatives to support causes like the HERBIE Clinic, including a formal corporate donation plan and a staff-funded program, the UFCU Charity Committee. “Both are designed to help those less fortunate, and deepen the bond we have with our Members, business partners, friends, and neighbors,” continued Easterling.

Through the Charity Committee, employees at any level can present opportunities to help their communities where they see a specific need. The donation to the HERBIE Clinic, for example, was one such request and funded by UFCU employees. “When staff is part of the process, they see firsthand the positive impact they have,” added Easterling.

Like the credit union movement, it’s the cooperative spirit that makes the HERBIE Clinic a success. “At the clinic, it’s not just about one person,” continued Easterling. “It’s all of us coming together for a common need.”

The clinic is operated entirely by volunteers who provide a full-range of services. Representing every spectrum of the population, volunteers include doctors, nurses, medical students, residents, pharmacy technicians, and a variety of non-healthcare professionals. Funding for the clinic comes from mostly private donations, which helps pay for medicines, equipment, and diagnostic testing.

Since the clinic’s inception, more than 2,800 patients have gained access to care for common ailments and screenings for life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. “We’ve been fortunate to detect a number of cancers early in patients,” added O’Donnell. To date, 11 life-saving cancer diagnoses have been made.

Because of its Christian roots, the clinic puts patient dignity at the forefront. “Serving patients respectfully and without stigma, just as Christ teaches us, is fundamental to us,” reiterated O’Donnell. Each patient is served on a one-to-one basis, accompanied by a lay volunteer who assists throughout the patient’s care.

“It’s amazing, the group of individuals we have at the clinic, donating their time and giving in a way that not only provides medical treatment, but love and respect for their fellow man,” offered Salvation Army Major Mike McKee, who oversees operations in Benton Harbor and Berrien County and provides administrative support to the clinic. “The clinic runs on a modest budget and through charitable giving, like UFCU’s donation, it’s able to provide care to hundreds.”

UFCU has been aware of the HERBIE Clinic not only from its own philanthropic efforts, but through Director of Advertising and PR Lou Ann Schafer who assists at the clinic. As a non-medical volunteer, she offers care and support to patients throughout their visit.

Schafer presented a check for $3,000 to the HERBIE Clinic on behalf of all UFCU staff. “I encourage anyone in our community to consider giving time or a donation to the clinic,” concluded Schafer. “The need is great and doesn’t stop with UFCU.”

To donate to the HERBIE Clinic, call Doctor Sherry O’Donnell at 269-408-1777. The clinic is a non-profit, 501(c)3, and donations are tax-deductible.

About UFCU

United Federal Credit Union has served its Members since 1949 by helping them to build a sound financial future. UFCU consists of more than 120,000 Member/owners worldwide, and manages assets in excess of $1.57 billion. Its corporate offices and main branch are located in St. Joseph, Mich., with additional branches in Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio. UFCU has been named the Michigan Credit Union League Outstanding Credit Union of the Year 2013. UFCU has also been named the National Federal Credit Union of the Year 2013 by the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.

About The Herbie Clinic

The Herbie Clinic was founded in 2009 by Doctor Sherry O’Donnell and Heartbeat Mission, as a subsidiary of her private practice Rappha Medical Center. Operated wholly by volunteers, including doctors, nurses, medical students, residents, pharmacy technicians, laity, and many local community members and churches, the clinic’s mission is to provide whole-person care for the medically-uninsured and socially-underserved through Christian principles.  

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church, has supported those in need for 130 years. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance each year through social services including food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. More information can be found at


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