With Christmas right around the corner, Central Utah Clinic has chosen a unique way to make the holiday season a little brighter for people in need.
Instead of giving the usual gifts to referring physicians and colleagues, the Clinic's board of directors approved using earmarked funds to purchase and donate more than 700 turkey vouchers to Community Action Food Bank. The vouchers for 20-pound turkeys are being distributed to those in need through Community Action Services and Food Bank. Central Utah Clinic employees were also given the opportunity to donate their turkey vouchers back to the Food Bank, which could add up to more than 1,000 birds.
"During United Way's Day of Caring, Bill Hulterstrom [United Way of Utah County CEO and president] and I brainstormed ways Central Utah Clinic could do something of impact," said Scott Barlow, Central Utah Clinic's chief executive officer. "We wanted to find the best avenue to contribute and make a difference in people's lives besides the ongoing charitable health care we donate through our Caring For Our Community programs. Donating a high-protein food is an additional way we can contribute to the health of people in our communities. I guess you could say we are breaking the gift-giving tradition in a healthy way."
Central Utah Clinic is the largest independent physician group in Utah, with more than 90 physicians. Central Utah physicians provide patient care in 20 specialties and will be celebrating its 40th year in business. Part of its Caring For Our Community program includes offering charitable medical service, adopting community initiatives and participating in civic groups.
"Tough economic times have made the number of people in need greater," said Myla Dutton, Community Action Services and Food Bank executive director. "We are seeing record numbers of people seeking help to the point where the Food Bank can no longer issue their usual five-day supply of food and only give two-day supplies. We hope that by providing families with this holiday meal, we can take away some of that stress and allow them to enjoy the holidays. On behalf of Community Action Food Bank and the people we serve, we sincerely thank Central Utah Clinic for its generous donation."
Central Utah Clinic hopes its action will be a catalyst in encouraging others to contribute to the Food Bank or other charities through United Way of Utah County.
"We challenge other businesses to consider redirecting its gift-giving dollars to those in real need," said Barlow. "Central Utah Clinic has advised its staff who interact with vendors, drug representatives and others who give the Clinic gifts to follow the Clinic's lead and redirect gift funds to charity."
"Donations made by Central Utah Clinic and others help strengthen the community as everyone works together to support those in true need," said Hulterstrom. "It is the season of giving. Giving time, money and talents to nonprofit organizations will advance the common good and help everyone in the community."