Jazz in July, scheduled for Saturday, July 14, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Theatre on the Green, promises to put a little flavor in your life and hopefully a little good will in your heart. According to Dennis Hardison, saxophonist and member of A New Creation, the jazz ensemble that will be performing that evening, “music is like cooking; its got to have the right flavor.”
Hardison said he has found that “people open up to us and our music.” He’s hoping the community will get of taste of their unique blend of jazz and gospel music, and be inspired to offer support to those who need it.
The concert has been organized on behalf of Mercy in Me Medical Clinic by two local residents, Delandris Jones and Wendy Woods. Tickets are $20 and all proceeds will be used for services provided by the clinic.
Since the doors opened in September of 2009, the clinic has been run entirely by volunteers. Kappie Griggs, a founding board member and volunteer, said “everybody here is a volunteer.”
“There is no paid staff,” said Griggs. The office workers are volunteers, the nurses, the doctors, the lady who cleans and the person who cuts the grass — they’re all volunteers.”
“They’re a neat bunch of people,” said Griggs of the 30 or so volunteers that have been faithful to the clinic. “But we can always use more.”
This year the clinic has served 84 patients, with a total of 437 visits. And while services through the clinic are free, medicines, procedures and medical tests are not, said Griggs. “The clinic pays for those. Since late April of this year, the clinic has spent more than $10,000 to outsource patient expenses.”
“Eighty-nine cents out of every dollar given to Mercy in Me is spent on patient care,” said Griggs.
“There is no payroll. That’s what sets us apart from other clinics,” said John Goodwin, board treasurer for Mercy in Me.
Goodwin also said there are three main reasons Mercy in Me has been successful, “our volunteers, community support and successful fundraisers.” According to Goodwin, the clinic has sponsored a spring golf tournament and a fall Walkathon, with each event raising nearly $11,000. But the upcoming jazz event is a little different, he said, “because someone else is doing it for us.”
“They (Jones and Woods) just volunteered to organize the event,” said Goodwin. “They’ve planned the whole thing.”
Woods is an administrator for Northeastern Technical College and Jones is a French teacher, and cultural inspiration, at Cheraw High School. Jones was the driving force behind the International Night Out at Cheraw High School earlier this year.
Woods said part of her motivation for putting on an event of this magnitude stems from recent health problems of her own. She realized how difficult things could be, with insurance. She said it was impossible for her to imagine how hard it would have been to face her health issues without insurance. This concert is her opportunity, as well as others, to do something to help people in the community without health insurance.
Why not make plans to attend, and take Hardison’s advice? He said, “Let that song be medicine to the hearts and minds of the people.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at email@example.com.