Damien Ministries’ mission was to serve the poorest of the poor living with HIV and AIDS, but severe financial problems brought it to the brink of closing its doors. The right pharmacy partner brought them financial stability and helped them triple the number of people they served.
For those below the poverty line living with HIV and AIDS in the nation’s capital, the challenges of medical care, food and daily living were overwhelming. Clients were often forced to choose between eating and affording medication.
In 1987, a handful of volunteers formed Damien Ministries to provide medical services, food and support to those vulnerable residents and to help them rebuild their lives.
After years of struggling, the organization was on the verge of financial collapse. The limited fundraising the organization managed wasn’t enough. The CEO was digging into her own pocket to sustain operations. Forced to move into a trailer when severe weather made its facility uninhabitable, many clients thought the organization had folded. The number of clients plummeted to 50.
The organization wanted to regain its footing, serve more clients, and expand its services. But its shaky finances made even its survival questionable.
Damien Ministries had previously explored the 340B program, but believed it didn’t qualify. Boca Pharmacy Group thought differently and approached the organization about starting one.
It turned out that Damien Ministries was eligible. Boca mentored and guided the organization through the 340B process, helped them set up and manage the program, and provided both initial and ongoing support, staff training and recruitment.
Damien Ministries now serves more than 140 clients per month. The organization is financially self-sufficient, thanks to the savings from its 340B program. In addition, Damien Ministries has been able to add services, including:
- More Providers. The staff has increased from 5 to 12, including a nutritionist. A new staff development and training program ensures that clients receive better care from informed, trained staffers.
- More Programs and Outreach. Damien Ministries has added a workforce development program to help clients enter the workforce, and new community health workers bring the organization’s services to more residents.
- More Nutrition. Clients can now receive three meals per day for 14 days from an expanded food bank, which includes perishable items.
Other organizations now see Damien Ministries as a role model, and it has formed a close partnership with the U.S. Department of Health (DOH).
“This program has completely turned us around, and we now have the capacity to help other organizations bring themselves up. It’s been a total godsend for us.”
—Gail Oliver, Executive Director, Damien Ministries