A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Focus on Faith Community Pharmacy: Connecting people with prescriptions they need but can’t afford

By Tess Brown
Horizon Community Funds

If there is one word you don’t typically associate with a medical prescription, it’s “cheap.” Many of us cringe at the total, wondering if this pill or that cream is really that necessary. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors see the total and realize that treatment is out of reach.

Each year, Florence-based Faith Community Pharmacy works with approximately 700 people, many in their mid-60s, to directly provide as much of their prescription as possible— for free. Their goal is to provide at least 80 percent of the medications needs for chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, mental health illnesses, high blood pressure and respiratory conditions. It goes without saying that it takes a dedicated team and strong partnerships to meet this goal.

Executive Director Tara Leen found out about Faith Community Pharmacy when her own grandparents were struggling to find ways to pay for their costly medications. Her child’s teacher advised Tara of the nonprofit her mother, Rosana Aydt, helped found in 2002. At first engaged as a donor, Tara quickly took the opportunity to join the team when Maria invited her.

Since it opened its doors 16 years ago, Faith Community Pharmacy has served over 6,800 people and has dispensed more than 450,000 free prescriptions with an average wholesale value of over $41 million.

Receiving no federal or United Way funding, the agency relies on a fiscal court grant for a little over half of its funding, with the rest coming from individual donations, grants, and fundraising. Those in the nonprofit sector realize the challenge that faces Tara and her team of two full-time staff and four part-time staff.

Even while faced by this, Tara is determined to expand the organization to serve more people. She knows the need is there. She sees it, and she knows exactly where to go — she has her eye on the 14 northernmost counties in Kentucky.

What she needs to get there is funding for staff, medicine, and minor travel expenses. Faith Community Pharmacy is the only licensed charitable pharmacy in Northern Kentucky, so she and her team are certainly filling a much-needed role in the community. In fact, of the seven that exist in Kentucky, Tara and her small but mighty team have the largest service area.

In the end, it’s pretty simple.

“We believe everyone should have access to the medication they need,” Tara affirms.

Learn more at their website, and stay up-to-date with news and tips on their Facebook page.

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