Third in a series: During GivingTuesday, CityView Today is spotlighting a few of the 79 nonprofit agencies supported by the Cumberland Community Foundation’s annual observance of the global day of generosity. Make your gift here before 5 p.m. on November 29th to have it amplified by a $550,000 match.
TODAY: We speak with Christiana Adeyemi, executive director of Better Health.
CITYVIEW: Why is your organization’s work vital to the people you serve?
CHRISTIANA ADEYEMI: Better Health is a nonprofit organization founded in 1958 to address the unmet healthcare needs in Cumberland County through education, referral and assistance. Better Health has been bridging the gap in healthcare in Cumberland County for over 65 years! All of our services are free.
According to the Cumberland County 2021-22 Community Health Needs Assessment published by the Cumberland County Department of Public Health, 18% of the population in Cumberland County lives below the poverty level and approximately 11% of the population 0-64 years of age in Cumberland County are uninsured.
There are many vulnerable populations residing in Cumberland County that face unique health risks and barriers to health care resulting in being medically underserved. These include people of low income, medically uninsured and the underinsured adults and children, the unemployed, the disabled, the mentally ill, those released from incarceration, and the homeless.
The Better Health program started in 1958 was the first of its kind and continues to be the only same-day assistance program for those with urgent needs. We assist with medications, dental extraction, vision exam and glasses, and transportation to out-of-town medical appointments to include Duke and Chapel Hill. These mostly unexpected and often very expensive healthcare costs are extremely burdensome and unrealistic for many. By providing assistance, we are able to allow clients to channel limited financial resources on rent, food and other basic needs thereby preventing further financial instability. We also provide free medical supplies, including adult incontinence supplies, liquid nutritional supplements, wound care supplies, ostomy supplies, etc.
Additionally, our Diabetes Education and Management Program includes a weekly diabetes clinic, one-on-one meeting with a Registered Nurse, and a seven-week intensive Take Charge of Diabetes class. We are the only nonprofit program approved by the American Diabetes Association in Cumberland County. Our classes cover topics such as nutrition, medication review, exercise, vision screening, foot care, etc.
Through our Medical Equipment Loan Program, we are able to loan out medical equipment from three to six months, including wheelchairs, transport chairs, knee scooters, walkers, shower benches, bedside commodes, etc., to clients in need.
Our Childhood Obesity Prevention and Management Program known as Fayetteville Fit is a community-based wellness initiative for the whole family — preventative and management classes are focused on eating right and staying active through nutritional education to include cooking demonstrations and physical activities.
How does what you do benefit the community as a whole?
The benefits of our services here in Cumberland County cannot be overemphasized. Hospital costs for both the individual and the community are reduced by fewer visits to the emergency department and fewer hospital admissions. The individual in a healthier state is a more productive member of the community due to improved quality of life and prevention of debilitating complications. At the completion of our last fiscal year, 100% reported no return to emergency medical visits for the same issue due to the assistance from Better Health. And 100% showed a decrease in pain and improvement in their medical condition following assistance from Better Health.
Additionally, our program ensures compliance with physician recommendations which in turn supports restoration of good health and return to work/school in a timely manner. Our clients overwhelmingly report a 98% return to work and school at our one-month follow-up call. This contributes to their ability to work towards financial stability and security by maintaining employment and income.
Improvements in diabetes control impact the community on many levels.
Through our Diabetes Management Program, 100% of clients stated that they monitor their glucose at home. 98% of clients reported they did not need 911/ED or hospital care. 100% of clients stated they received the help and information they needed to successfully manage their diabetes.
When a diabetic is hospitalized for other reasons, stays are shorter and complications are reduced when diabetes is controlled. Fewer days of work or school are missed and disability claims due to the complications of diabetes are reduced.
Knowledge gained in the Fayetteville Fit program positively impacts the present and future health of uniquely at-risk families in our community through a unique family-based program.
Tell us about your operation, and what your annual budget allows you to do — and how you make decisions about what gets left out if there’s a budget shortfall…
Our annual budget allows us to make a huge impact in Cumberland County. We serve over 2,000 clients annually and our numbers are increasing. According to our 2022 annual report, we served 1,101 direct aid clients and had over 1,116 total clinic visits for diabetes.
For many years, Better Health has exhausted the budget for providing medical assistance to clients prior to the end of the fiscal year. When this occurs, we refer clients to community partners and sliding-scale clinics in the area for assistance. Oftentimes, many cannot afford even a small charge and may have to choose between food or medication(s) and other crucial health services needed. This is why your support is so crucial as it allows us to continue to provide the much-needed assistance to our neighbors in need.
How does the financial boost you get from the Cumberland Community Foundation make a difference in the life of your organization?
The financial boost we get from the Cumberland Community Foundation makes a huge difference in the life of our organization. It helps keep our organization afloat. The financial support is crucial for Better Health to sustain our operations, fund important projects, and help provide services for our clients. Your financial support helps us achieve our goals and objectives, and ultimately our mission of addressing the unmet healthcare needs in Cumberland County through education, referral and assistance. Unrestricted funding helps Better Health to meet operational needs such as utilities, supplies, communications, sanitation and maintenance, salaries and other urgent and emerging needs.
What’s your message to those who are considering supporting the Foundation? Why should they be a part of Giving Tuesday and support the campaign?
Better Health encourages everyone to support the Cumberland Community Foundation and be a part of GivingTuesday. The Cumberland Community Foundation has raised $550,000 to amplify gifts received during the GivingTuesday Campaign. These raised funds allow your gifts and donations to go further, therefore having a greater impact on the issues and missions you care about. This is a wonderful accomplishment for which we are very grateful. Donations are also tax deductible and can help reduce taxable income.
GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that celebrates the spirit of kindness and motivates people to give back to their communities. It's a global movement that unites individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies in a collective cause to help make the world a better place.
When we donate money to help the less privileged in our community, we create jobs in our non-profit industry and help sustain organizations that are dedicated to making a difference in our world! Additionally, giving back can do wonders for your health! It inspires you to be more active and compassionate which is a boost for mental health while also supporting the well-being of others. It can also help businesses and individuals build a positive reputation and validate your commitment to social responsibility. Please support Better Health through the Giving Tuesday Campaign. Thank you in advance for your support. You make a difference!
About Christiana Adeyemi: The new executive director at Better Health of Cumberland County is a long-term resident of Cumberland County and a military spouse of over 25 years. She has extensive experience in relationship-building, organizational management, program execution, human resources and event planning. She has extensive experience working with diverse stakeholders including both private and public business sectors, community partners, federal, state, local establishments and public officials.