Bluffton Med-I-Assist is celebrating its tenth anniversary of providing affordable prescription drugs and eye care to low-income individuals in Beaufort and Jasper Counties. At the helm of the organization is their long-time program administrator and dedicated volunteer, Hamilton Boykin.
Started as a program of the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control, Bluffton Med-I-Assist’s original set-up was to help people fill out prescription assistance paperwork. However, Hamilton and other volunteers at Bluffton Med-I-Assist wanted to provide more immediate help, so they partnered with outside pharmacies to provide low-cost options for basic prescriptions. Volunteers then focused on raising money to cover drugs that pharmacies couldn’t subsidize.
In the last year and a half, Bluffton Med-I-Assist has also provided free eye exams and glasses through a voucher system with Wal-Mart. This program alone has increased program expenditures by 350%. Hamilton sees “big built-up demand” for eye exams and glasses, as these services often get overlooked when rent is due and the cupboards are bare.
Looking forward, Hamilton wants to make sure Bluffton Med-I-Assist can keep up with increasing demand for its eye care and prescription services. Part of that will come from the group’s participation in Lowcountry Giving Day, an online fundraiser happening May 5th, when an anonymous donor will match up to $10,000 in gifts made to Bluffton Med-I-Assist at www.lowcountrygivingday.org.
“We see a scene repeated frequently at Bluffton Med-I-Assist,” explained Hamilton. “People come in who have not had their medicines in several months. They are starting to physically suffer, and they’re scared. To be able to respond and meet their needs is truly rewarding.”
Each week, Coastal Community Foundation highlights organizations, donors and other charitable news in The Philanthropy Corner. If you’re interested in learning more about philanthropy in the Lowcountry, reach out to our regional Stewardship Officer, Gloria Duryea, at Gloria@CoastalCommunityFoundation.org or (843) 379-3400.