EMC Health Foundation and United Samaritans Foundation Launch Prescription Plus, a Program to Aid Local Residents with the Cost of Prescription Medication

Submitted by: Jeffrey Lewis, Email: jeffrey@emchf.org

TURLOCK, Calif. – EMC Health Foundation and United Samaritans Foundation have launched Prescription Plus, a program dedicated to helping the working families pay for needed prescription medication.

Today, middle-class families are feeling the combined impact of health insurance companies and the Coronavirus as they try to survive and purchase needed life-sustaining medications.

Many people already unable to afford their medications because of health insurers requiring them to pay higher and higher copays, and an alarming number of people suddenly finding themselves unemployed or working limited hours because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The numbers of people with chronic conditions that cannot afford to fill or refill their medications continue to grow. Also, families facing sickness during the shelter at home period may not have the funds available to pick up medication for themselves or their children.

Prescription Plus was created to help cover some of the costs of these needed medications.  The program is designed to help the uninsured and people with health insurance who find it difficult to afford their medication during April 2020.

“Our valley is facing a health and economic crisis. We are living in a time when people are creative in how they will get through the next few hours, days, weeks, and months, and it’s critical that people can afford their regular medications. When relief is essential to the wellbeing of families, waiting for the bureaucracy to catch up will be too long. Our goal is to keep people healthy, out of the hospital and free from fear of not being able to afford their medications.  This is a wonderful way to reinvest charitable dollars into our community as we strive to demonstrate a servant’s heart.” Jeffrey Lewis, President and CEO of EMC Health Foundation, says.

“This is an epic time in our lives.  There is help for those in need, so do not let your health costs override your health needs. This partnership of care is meant to make a difference, so let us help you if we can.” Linda Murphy-Julien, Executive Director United Samaritans Foundation.

The program serves residents who live in the surrounding 19 zip codes and do not qualify for Medi-Cal or Medicare and have an income of less than 300% of the federal poverty level.

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Denair Unified Continues to Offer Breakfasts, Lunches for Students During Coronavirus Shutdown

Submitted by Denair Unified School District:

A school district is a place to learn lessons and so it was for the Denair Unified School District food service staff after the first two days of free meal pickup.

With all four campuses shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Denair – like other public school districts – still must provide free breakfasts and lunches to each of its 1,300 students who want one.

For context, the district typically serves up to 400 free breakfasts and as many as 700 lunches when class is in session. The school closures put all that into flux.

Initially, Denair announced a plan to hand out meals twice daily in a drive-through system in the middle school parking lot.

Thursday, only eight breakfasts and 39 lunches were served. A robocall Thursday night to all parents in the district reminding them of the service boosted the numbers to 20 breakfasts and 98 lunches Friday.

Slight progress for sure, but district officials believe there still is room for improvement to meet the food and nutritional needs of many children.

Beginning Monday, an even more convenient and streamlined service will be put in place. Breakfast will be available for pickup from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., and then between 10:30 a.m. and noon lunch for that day as well as breakfast for the next day will be handed out.

Both meals will be distributed Tuesdays through Thursdays between 10:30 a.m. and noon, and only lunch will be provided during the same time on Fridays.

Also next week, two remote delivery sites will be added Monday through Friday:

  • Denair Friends Church, 4033 N. Gratton Road, from 10:35 to 10:55 a.m.
  • Olsen’s Fabricating, 5906 N. Montpelier Road, from 11:05 to 11:25  a.m.
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Denair Unified Announces School Closures Until April 20; Free Food Programs Will Remain in Place via Pickup Only

Submitted by Denair Unified School District:

The Denair Unified School District will close its campuses beginning Thursday, March 19 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Terry Metzger announced Sunday night.

Denair joins 24 other public school districts as well as many private schools in Stanislaus County who are following the recommendations of local, state and national health officials to close campuses. As of now, Metzger said the plan is for classes to resume Monday, April 20 on what would have been the first day back for students and staff from spring break.

“I know that the Denair community has entrusted me to make decisions that are in the best interest of our students and families,” Metzger said. “Closing our schools for an extended period of time is not a decision I made lightly.

“One big question is, ‘Why close schools for so long?’ Public health officials have been clear that closures of less than three weeks are not likely to be effective in slowing the spread of the virus. Because our spring break is scheduled for April 10-17, it makes sense to carry through that week and return on April 20.”

The decision to remain open through Wednesday was made in an effort to allow families to arrange for child care, if necessary. There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Denair.

The closures will affect more than 1,300 students from kindergarten through high school as well as the district’s 188 employees. The district office will remain open and a handful of “essential” employees will continue to report to work, Metzger said.

All employees will remain in paid status during the closure.

The free breakfast and lunch programs available to all students 18 and younger will continue. Beginning Thursday, meals can be picked up in the Denair Middle School parking lot between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. and again between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Metzger said some resources and enrichment work will be provided during the closure for K-8 students. There will be packets for parents who want it in hard copy form as well as online access for other students.

The district is still working out details for the types of resources and assignments that will be provided for high school students at Denair High and Denair Charter Academy, Metzger said. Anyone with any questions should call the district office at 632-7514.

Sunday, March 15, 2020 School Closure Update

Submitted by Denair Unified School District:

As you know, the situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been changing every day. At this time, Denair Unified School District (along with all other schools in Stanislaus County) intends to close all school sites effective Thursday, March 19, 2020 through our regularly scheduled Spring Break, April 19, 2020. We are announcing the closure now in an attempt to allow families time to arrange childcare. Further details will be released as soon as we have them. 

Como saben, la situación con el coronavirus (COVID-19) ha cambiado todos los días. En este momento, el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Denair (junto con todas las otras escuelas en el Condado de Stanislaus) tiene la intención de cerrar todas las escuelas a partir del jueves 19 de marzo de 2020 hast el 19 de abril de 2020 a través de nuestras vacaciones de primavera. Estamos anunciando el cierre ahora en un intento de dar tiempo a las familias para organizar el cuidado de los niños. Se darán más detalles tan pronto como los tengamos.

Superintendent Discusses Coronavirus Response, Impacts

Submitted by Denair Unified School District:

For all the planning, the strategizing and the meetings about coronavirus that Terry Metzger has devoted time to in the past two weeks, one constant has emerged: whatever decisions seem right today might be quickly overtaken by the ever-changing sequence of public health needs tomorrow.

Thursday night, the Denair Unified School District superintendent briefed board members, staff and the public on the steps the district has taken related to the pandemic and likely will be confronted with in the days and weeks to come. Expect many spring sports and large schoolwide events to be cancelled and most student and employee travel postponed.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” Metzger said. “Things change quickly throughout the day. Our goal is to use common sense and make the best decisions based on the information we have at the time.”

Last Friday, Metzger attended a meeting with the Stanislaus County public health officer, who met with most of the public school superintendents as well as officials from CSU Stanislaus, Modesto Junior College and Merced College.

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