AMY Wellness Foundation is proud to announce a collaborative grant award to Buladean Community Foundation (BCF) and Center for Rural Health Innovation (CRHI), aimed at fostering community well-being in northern Mitchell County.
Established in 2014, the Buladean Community Foundation embarked on a mission to revitalize an old elementary school, transforming it into a vibrant community center that plays a pivotal role in providing essential services to residents in this remote part of Mitchell County. Until recently, the center was completely operated by volunteers and only open to the public sporadically. With an inspiring vision to reshape their community, the BCF Board and volunteers embarked on a journey to turn this center into a dynamic hub, providing vital access to food, healthcare, and fitness opportunities for local community members.
The partnership began when CRHI’s Executive Director Amanda Martin North, recognized an opportunity and a need within the community to have this location be a hub for telehealth services providing much needed access to care. “In close collaboration with the Buladean Community Foundation and drawing on our experience setting up two other similar clinics, CRHI spent more than eight months planning and preparing for the new clinic,” said Amanda Martin North, CRHI Executive Director. “It opened in late February 2023 to immediate, though modest, success. With the additional funding we are now able to have the doors open four days per week, staffed by our Clinic Coordinator Vicki Garland. Vicki helps patients connect to our providers via telehealth for acute or chronic healthcare needs. The providers, Family Nurse Practitioners, can evaluate, diagnose and prescribe. They can also give orders for labs to be drawn, which Vicki can do right at the clinic. All ages, all insurance and those with no insurance are all welcome to give us a call or stop in for care,” she continued.
“Buladean is uniquely placed on a main highway close to the TN border,” said Katie Elkins, BCF Board Member. “The community center has the only flat walking track in the northern part of the county, the only fitness center, health clinic and gymnasium. The mission of BCF is to provide cultural, educational and economic opportunity for our community. The certified kitchen will allow entrepreneurs to create added value foods and the pantry will provide much needed weekday access for our low-income community members, many of which are seniors. The clinic has been a big hit so far, as is the free fitness center. We are so proud that CRHI has joined us, and AMY Wellness chose to support us,” said Elkins.
The grant awarded to BCF will enable the implementation of several crucial roles within the Buladean Community Center (BCC):
- Food Access Coordinator: This position will oversee the establishment and operation of a food pantry and a certified community kitchen at BCC. Collaborating with the local food bank, new food hub, local gardens, and Mitchell County Health Department the coordinator will ensure that the pantry operates on different days than other food pantries in the area, increasing accessibility for community members.
- Fitness Manager: This position will facilitate access to the two fitness rooms at BCC. Volunteers will be trained to safely manage access, and the manager will ensure a clean and safe environment for community members.
- Buladean Clinic Coordinator: Building on the existing services provided by CRHI, this position will expand providing walk-in and scheduled appointments for all community members. Telehealth services will connect patients with healthcare providers, ensuring comprehensive care and will also fund essential medical supplies.
“This invaluable support means we can utilize our volunteer base to the greatest effect, keep the center’s fitness rooms open to everyone, removing barriers such as travel and ability to pay. Our hope is that the trifecta of food access, fitness opportunities and health care will have a positive preventative impact on the health of the people of northern Mitchell County and beyond,” said Elkins.
“This grant represents a significant step forward in our mission to create a healthier and more vibrant communities,” said Luke Howe, AMYWF Executive Director. “It reflects our shared commitment to improving community well-being and ensuring access to vital resources.”
AMY Wellness Foundation extends its appreciation to its dedicated partners, volunteers, and community members for their support in building healthier, stronger communities.
For more information about AMY Wellness Foundation and its community initiatives, please visit amywellnessfoundation.org.