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Bowls give big boost for free clinic

UW-River Falls hosted Bowls for Hope last week Tuesday in the University Center, raising $6,385 for the Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties. Front row, from left: UWRF Chancellor Dean Van Galen and Mary Van Galen present a check to Mary Conroy-Johnson and Dr. Robert Johnson, founders of the Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties. Back row, left to right, Free Clinic Board members Leo Beskar, Julie Freeborn, Todd Schultz, Heather Logelin, Sarah Rose, Leah Gavin and Julie Ducklow. <i>Submit...

UW-River Falls hosted the fourth annual Bowls for Hope event March 12, raising $6,385 for the Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties.

Each year, UWRF works with the community to raise funds through Bowls for Hope for a worthy organization that makes a difference in the St. Croix Valley.

The River Falls-based Free Clinic serves about 700 patients a year, more than 60% of whom have household incomes below the federal poverty level. Since the doors first opened April 24, 2007, the clinic has had more than 13,235 patient visits.

For every one dollar raised, the Free Clinic can provide $33 of prescription medications and last year prescribed approximately 8,000 medications.

"A high percentage of new patients have chronic illnesses that require regular prescriptions," said Mary Conroy-Johnson, chairwoman of the Free Clinic board of directors. "Funds raised from the Bowls for Hope event will be used primarily to obtain diabetic test strips, as resources that allowed the clinic to obtain them at a discounted price have dried up."

For an entrance fee of $20 per adult and $5 for children 12 and under, participants at the event selected and kept a bowl that was created in ceramic/pottery classes at UWRF, River Falls High School, Meyer Middle School, the Renaissance Academy, or by area artists.

Attendees then sampled, at no extra charge, soups donated and served by area restaurants. Guests voted for their favorite soup of the evening and the winner was the Smoked Corn and Green Chili Bisque from The West Wind Supper Club.

To date, Bowls for Hope has raised more than $21,000 for local charitable organizations.