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St. Margaret Foundation awards $626,600 to community health programs

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St. Margaret Foundation awarded grants to cover the Free Rides for Seniors shuttle that transports people between Sharpsburg, Aspinwall and Blawnox.

St. Margaret Foundation on Monday doled out more than $626,600 in grants, among them money for free health screenings, transportation and sleep chairs for patients.

Foundation president Mary Lee Gannon said the grants provide for patient access, education and experience, aligning with the group’s mission to “fill the gaps with hope.”

“The anxiety of a new diagnosis, impending treatment or surgery is difficult enough to deal with without having to worry if you’ll have a ride to your chemotherapy, a hearing aid or be able to afford the medication you need to get well,” Gannon said. “We are here to ease that burden.”

Money will cover the Free Rides for Seniors shuttle that transports people between Sharpsburg, Aspinwall and Blawnox. It takes people to the grocery store, doctor’s and The Waterworks in more than 5,000 annual trips.

A total of $147,666 will pay for that service, plus a senior citizen shuttle that travels between Etna and Tarentum, a medical shuttle from UPMC St. Margaret to the Alle-Kiski Valley, and a wheelchair-accessible van to transport patients to nursing homes or other care facilities. There also is a shuttle two days a month for patients in Sharpsburg who travel to the St. Margaret Family Health Center in Lawrenceville.

Because Sharpsburg is without a physician’s office or medical clinic, Gannon said this service is coordinated through Roots of Faith to give people access to medical care, pharmacist consultation, free medication, behavioral health counseling and outpatient social work.

Other recipients from this year’s foundation grants include:

• $200,000 to the New Kensington Family Health Center.

• $ 47,016 for recliner sleep chairs for patient’s rooms.

• $43,675 for transformation of the 4A patio for patient relaxation.

• $40,000 for complimentary valet services for patients with disabilities.

• $9,396 for health fair screenings for the under-resourced.

Gannon said the foundation’s board of directors is dedicated to thwarting health challenges.

“The last thing we want is for you to forgo filling your insulin prescription because you need to feed your family,” she said.

For more, visit stmargaretfoundation.org.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, [email protected] or via Twitter @tawnyatrib.

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