They say money is tight, and non-profits all have their hands out asking for donations. It's hard to know where to send even the small contributions you can manage.
That's true. But here's one that really deserves support -- in fact lives could depend on it.
Medic 94, the emergency room on wheels that accompanies ambulances to serious accidents and sudden illnesses, is getting by on almost a shoestring, while providing life-saving and professional treatment to the folks in southwestern Chester County. If there's one organization that is worthy of gifts, it's this amazing crew of paramedics and their well-equipped vehicles.
They have four trucks – two a Jennersville Regional Hospital and two at Avondale Fire Company. They are loaded to the gills with machines, medicines and devices that can keep people alive – even revive those in cardiac arrest -- on the way to the hospital following an emergency.
They even have resuscitation devices for dogs and cats.
They don't transport the patient (the ambulance does that), but they provide treatment and ride with the patient to the hospital.
Medic 94 is staffed by people who have extensive training -- at least a year of advanced methods.
And yet, even though they are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this organization gets by on about $1 million a year.
Meanwhile, their case load increases by about 3 percent a year while revenue drops by about 8 percent annually.
CEO Bob Hotchkiss said at a recent meeting that two-thirds of the municipalities in his service area donate one-tenth of one mill of real estate tax to Medic 94.
A mill is a tax of $1 for every $1,000 in property value. For the townships and boroughs that have agreed to the contribution, that comes out to $20 for houses assessed at $200,000.
Hotchkiss said that's fine for him, and he does not intend to ask for any municipality that is paying to increase that rate. He would like the municipalities that don't send that amount to consider upping their contribution, however.
Those municipalities that don't send the one-tenth of a mill are Avondale, London Britain, Oxford, West Fallowfield and West Marlborough.
Medic 94 also has an annual fund-raising campaign. From the several thousand requests they send out, about 12 percent of households respond with gifts, and the average gift is $40.
That's not much, considering that when Medic 94 shows up at your door (or auto accident), there's a good chance you will survive rather than succumb to your injuries.
Want some evidence? Every year they have a party for people they brought back from cardiac arrest -- no heart beat. Those people actually recovered and later walked out of the hospital.
Mr. Hotchkiss appears to spend most of his waking moments figuring out how to make the service better. He upgrades the trucks. He reads and attends meetings about the latest methods of life saving. He even sends out his crew members to any organization that wants a talk about how to increase safety and provide civilian first aid. Medic 94 is ever-improving.
A contribution to Medic 94 is cheap insurance. It's life saving on wheels.
When the letter comes in the box from Medic 94 asking for funding, give it some serious support. When you or your family member -- or your dog -- has stopped breathing, you will be glad that Medic 94 is around.