Katie Anderson-Tedder first learned about the Family Health Partnership Clinic last year as a reporter working on an assignment.
The clinic serves under- and uninsured people who are primarily McHenry County residents. Anderson-Tedder's first impression was twofold: amazement at the massive volunteer-driven effort and devastation that she had no idea the place existed when her mother needed such care.
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Anderson-Tedder is a fourth generation candy maker at Anderson's Candy Shop, which is based in Richmond but has a new location that just opened in Barrington. Her mother died in 2009 from a cancer that spread because her lack of insurance kept her from doctors when she needed them most.
Family Health Partnership Clinic was founded in 1996 in Woodstock as an option for people just like Ruth Danner Anderson. Anderson-Tedder, of Elgin, said when she first walked in she was struck by the generosity of the people who donate their time to make the clinic run. But for personal reasons, that visit also brought her to tears.
"I was extremely heart broken at the fact that I didn't know places like this existed, and that I didn't know about it sooner," Anderson-Tedder said.
This holiday season she is connecting her admiration for the clinic with a new business philosophy at the candy shop. Anderson's has been around since 1919 when Arthur Anderson started the business. He moved to Richmond in 1926, where the Candy Shop has been based ever since.
But last year the business was at a crossroads and on the brink of closing. Anderson-Tedder and her sister, Susanne, decided to quit their jobs and join the family business full-time, with a renewed focus on the community and giving back.
They designed the "Give Back Box" as a holiday fundraiser for Family Health Partnership Clinic. The boxes of assorted handmade gourmet chocolates cost $14.95, and $2.75 of that will go directly to the clinic. Anderson-Tedder hopes to sell 500 boxes, but said there is no cap on the donation commitment.
That's why they're donating a portion of the chocolate sales instead of making a single cash payment. "There's no limit to the amount we can raise if we do it this way," Anderson-Tedder said.
Suzanne Hoban, founder and executive director of Family Health Partnership Clinic, said the organization gets no government funding and must raise enough to survive through the community and various foundations.
It has expanded to handle almost 9,000 patient visits in the last fiscal year, and Hoban said it has been constantly growing ever since its inception.
The only factor limiting the clinic is access to resources, Hoban said. There are 28 volunteer physicians, 15 volunteer nurses and about 650 other volunteers, but the clinic is constantly turning away patients because it simply does not have the resources to serve them.
This fundraiser will help address that. But, for Hoban, it will do more.
"From our perspective, it's not just about a fundraiser for us, but a really exciting opportunity to promote a local business that is producing some fantastic quality chocolates," Hoban said.
Boxes are available at both Anderson's Candy Shop locations and can be ordered online at andersonscandyshop.com. They'll be on sale through the holidays.
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