Giving an alternative gift for the holidays

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The Free Medical Clinic of Columbia provides free healthcare to thousands of South Carolinians who are uninsured.

"We have folks that are doing three part time jobs, they just dont have health benefits," said Dennis Coker the Executive Director of the Medical Clinic.

For almost 30 years the clinic has been helping people who struggle with health issues and providing them a service they have often been denied.

"In a moments notice you can go from being okay to having a serious problem and when you have a serious problem and no way to deal with it you're in a deep dark hole. You need somebody to come beside you and give you a little bit of help and a whole lot of hope," said Coker.

Since the clinic offers free services, their funding comes from the community.

A lot of the funding comes from churches in the community including Shandon Presbyterian.

Every year Shandon Presbyterian provides their members with a booklet providing a list of organizations they can choose to give an "alternative gift" to.

They are donations members of the church can make and dedicate to a friend or loved one, instead of buying a gift to go under the tree.

This year 12 orgnaizations including the clinic will benefit from the alternative gift market.

"Using a very conservative estimate for every dollar that we get we can generate 8.50 wrth of healthcare," said Coker.