In a concerted effort to bring relief to the victims of the Valley Fire that devastated more than 75,000 acres in Lake County, Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) recently organized a fund drive that collected several truckloads of medical and necessary supplies in a matter days.
What began as a call-for-donations email to employees last Thursday, resulted in an avalanche of support by Monday morning, and an overflowing conference room full of much needed supplies.
“We’re happy people are trying to get their lives back, and happy to help in any way we can,” said Thomas Dunlap, MD, President of the Board of Directors.
Donations came in from employees who purchased items such as blankets, food, toothpaste and diapers. NCMA donated $2,500 to purchase items including medical supplies such as glucometers, eye drops, nebulizers and Chapstick, along with personal toiletries, clothing, toys, and dog treats. Donations also came from NCMA’s Dr. James Steele’s office, who donated respiratory supplies and gloves to the effort.
On Monday, NCMA staff loaded the donations into their personal trucks and drove them to Moose Lodge in Clearlake. Local evacuation centers are not federally funded in Clearlake, and Moose Lodge opens its doors to the community for crises the county has experienced. What supplies Moose Lodge doesn’t use, they will funnel to other locations including Lakeport Seventh Day Adventist Church, and Bu-shay Campground at Lake Mendocino.
NCMA’s presence is large in the community, promoting healthcare with active community involvement. When Wendy LaBranche, MPA, Chief Operating Officer, asked her team what community outreach was next, the idea of a fund drive to help the fire victims was embraced by her team and the effort took off.
Carol Ferrari, assistant director of human resources at NCMA, was among those coordinating the effort. She gladly did the shopping with NCMA’s $2,500 donation, and was one of the volunteers to drive the supplies up to Moose Lodge in her truck. Being a horse lover, she also drove hay up to Lake County last week, after being moved by news photos of horses caught in the fire.
“We have a lot of friends up there,” Ferrari said. “And several of our employees had to evacuate.”
NCMA practitioners staff are also volunteering their time and services for evacuees. Pam Maes, nurse practitioner, Family Practice in Lake County has been donating her services, and other employees have been sorting clothes and other donated items at Moose Lodge.
NCMA is a physician-owned multispecialty practice covering Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, and provides centralized business office, accounting, marketing and planning services to its physicians. Since 1993, they have expanded from six physicians to 60, $4 million in revenue to $52 million, four satellite offices to 26, and 35 employees in the operational infrastructure to 250.
“Due to the success of this drive, NCMA will be collecting more supplies in the near future,” said LaBranche. For more information please contact Ferrari at 707 573-6173.