ASHLAND -- The Ashland Christian Health Center's traditional Black Tie and Blue Jeans Gala will be replaced this year with a less formal, socially-distant alternative.
The local nonprofit has pivoted amid amid the COVID-19 pandemic to plan its first-ever Black Tie and Pajamas Gala, a remote version of its sixth annual event.
"Folks were always so thankful to attend an in-person event in blue jeans, but imagine now, staying at home events, comfy, in our pajamas," executive director Cheryl Benway said.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, the community is invited to tune into the virtual event to hear how the health center has sustained its ministry during the pandemic.
"This year a little virus called Covid-19 taught us a lot about how many people have caught the vision of ACHC," ACHC Medical Director Dr. Roger Snyder said.
The Ashland Christian Health Center's aims to provide care for and to elevate the dignity of Ashland County residents who are uninsured or under insured, in a Christ-centered atmosphere.
Nursing Director Misty Welch has developed new protocols throughout the pandemic with intentions to keep parents safe, while still meeting their needs and offering a safe environment for volunteers. Telehealth visits have also become the norm and to keep patients and volunteers safe, limiting traffic through clinic doors.
"The strain of the pandemic on medical professions is daunting as we all adapt. As a volunteer-driven agency, we rely on medical professionals to volunteer their services, which we cannot take for granted," Benway said. "Our hearts and thoughts go out to those working in the healthcare field. Our hope is that they too can recognize their impact on our ability to continue our ministry."
She thanked the volunteers who have kept clinic doors open over the past 10 months and community organizations that have stepped up with financial support.
"As a free clinic we are here for those who cannot afford our services, in turn we ask for patients to pay it forward with volunteer service to their neighbors and within our community," Benway said. "We are thankful to serve everyone regardless of financial resources, and we do recognize that when we count the fewer payments we receive.
"We are humbled by the value of our medical services. The need is great and this is why it is important for us to continue to celebrate our volunteers, our medical providers and nurses, as they continue to give of themselves so our patients can find healing."
The Black Tie and Pajamas Gala will begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 through a link on www.ashlandchristianhealthcenter.org and via Facebook or YouTube. Those who plan to are asked to register at the website in advance.