Helping Works

Canyon County clinic seeks public help with huge rent increase

Lucile Milligan and her constant companion, Twinkle Toes the cat. Milligan is Metro Meals on Wheels’ oldest client. She recently celebrated her 102nd birthday.
Lucile Milligan and her constant companion, Twinkle Toes the cat. Milligan is Metro Meals on Wheels’ oldest client. She recently celebrated her 102nd birthday. Metro Meals on Wheels

The Canyon County Community Clinic, a faith-based nonprofit, opened in Caldwell in 2010 to provide medical care to county residents in need.

“We serve those with chronic issues, who don’t have Medicaid, who don’t have Medicare, who are at 200 percent of the poverty level or below,” said director Tom Bowman.

The clinic relies on support from private donations, grants from other nonprofits, the county indigent fund and care providers who volunteer their time. It operated for six years in a former Southwest District Health office on Main Street. News that the building would be torn down for a new theater as part of Caldwell’s revitalization meant big changes for the clinic.

“We were politely asked to move,” said Bowman.

Staying in Caldwell was a priority. Half of the clinic’s patients live in the Caldwell area. The need is great. According to a new report, 46 percent of Caldwell residents live at or below the federal poverty level or live above that level but still don’t make enough money to pay for basic needs.

The clinic found a new home, at 524 Cleveland Blvd. — the former Sears department store, also known as the Cornerstone Building — in Caldwell. The clinic reopened for business on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

There is one snag; the new space comes with a rent increase from $300 a month to $3,000 a month, said John Greenlee. He is a director of Recovery Support Services, an agency that supports people trying to overcome drug addiction, that shares space with the clinic. The clinic has started a GoFundMe campaign called “Keep Canyon Clinic’s Doors Open!” to help pay the rent.

“We just want to be able to pay the bills,” said Greenlee. “We’re optimistic. We’re not begging right now, but month to month, rent is going to take a huge part of the budget.”

The clinic is not in danger of closing, added Bowman, “as long as we have people who step up to the plate.”

The online fundraiser is an ongoing effort. As of the deadline for this column, the campaign had raised $4,135.

Last year, the clinic provided 800 free doctor/patient visits.

Read more, see a video and make a donation on the clinic’s GoFundMe page.

Contact the clinic by phone at 208-455-1143 or email

Community rallies around the Abdullah family

Al Qasim Shaheed Abdullah was born just over five months ago with a rare birth defect that caused his intestines to grow outside of his body. When he was born, doctors found more issues, including a shortened bowel that compromised his ability to take in nutrients. He spent over a month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. His family, which includes his parents, Julie and Abbas, and his four siblings, live in Ola, Idaho. Julie and Abbas recently took Al Qasim to Seattle for surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Julie Abdullah called the Statesman and asked for help to get the story out about Al Qasim’s challenges. The family faces challenges, too, including the financial strain of travel and other expenses. The Abdullahs set up a GoFundMe campaign, “Hope for Baby Al Qasim in Seattle.”

As of the deadline for this column, the campaign had raised $3,820 towards a goal of $5,000.

Dollars for the Learning Lab and Flying M Valentines for AIDS

Two major community fundraisers have ended with big success. The Learning Lab’s recent Lunch for Literacy drew more than 900 guests and $46,000 in donations pledged during the lunch.

This year’s Valentine for AIDS silent art auction at the Flying M Coffeehouse raised over $24,700 for SNAP (Safety Net for AIDS Project). More than 270 local artists donated pieces.

Metro Meals on Wheels honors its oldest client

Lucile Milligan recently marked her 102nd birthday. Meals on Wheels volunteer Paul Wakagawa, who normally delivers Milligan’s meals, joined Meals on Wheels staffers recently to deliver a cake, flowers and a card to mark the milestone.

Milligan was born in Tennessee and moved to Boise 13 years ago. Meals on Wheels staffers report that she’s a fan of books on tape and watches the news on television every day. A selection of the quilts she’s made decorate her livingroom walls. She’s been an avid quilter, making quilts for friends and family as well as quilts to donate to hospitals for newborn babies.

Metro Meals on Wheels delivers and serves 900 hot meals each weekday throughout Ada County.

Correction: Free Boise City free tree pruning class

The only class in the series that meets in the morning is the tree pruning class on March 12. It meets at 10 a.m. All other classes are evening classes. Information in the Feb. 9 Helping Works column was incorrect.

Call 208-608-7680 to register and get more information.