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Community Giving Stories

Caring for Our Community

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Looking Forward, With Hope

"When you are facing aging and illness, things can get rough," recalls Matt. For years, Matt managed chronic health conditions. Unfortunately, Matt's health took a turn for the worse when he developed a severe infection and then needed surgery. Matt was now 65 and moved into Medicare. He no longer had drug benefits, so the medications he needed were not covered. Matt's financial nest egg quickly dwindled. "Between my hospitalizations and my medications, my bills were overwhelming me." Having always managed his expenses, Matt started to feel desperate, "I considered selling my car, my one possession, in order to live. It seemed my only option." When things were looking the worst for Matt, he received a call from Yvonne, one of Meriter's financial counselors who told him about the Capitol Care Plan, a program organized by Save Our Security (SOS) and Meriter. The Capitol Care Plan helps eligible seniors reduce their personal expenses for Medicare A & B medical expenses."Before I was in Capitol Care, things were bleak," Matt recalls, "Everything seems to be sliding downhill. Then Yvonne stepped in and pointed me in this direction. Her help, this program and Meriter changed my future. Yvonne was a godsend, a savior." Today, Matt is continuing to work on improving his health and is feeling better every day. "I got the help I needed and now I can look forward with hope."


Soon after his arrival in Madison and being newly homeless in the community, Stacey met Carlos, RN with Meriter's Helping Educate and Link the Homeless, or HEALTH, program. Stacey was dealing with multiple health concerns as well as the stress and uncertainty of being homeless. "My blood pressure was out of control and I felt really bad. Carlos helped me understand I needed medications to be well." Carlos also helped Stacey find suitable shelter and connected him to vital services, one of the key factors of the HEALTH program. "Carlos helped me understand what I needed to do and helped me get there." Today, Stacey is in housing and making great strides. "Because of HEALTH and Carlos, I have been able to be stable. My blood pressure is under-control and I am taking my medications every day. Without this program, I would have been lost."

This Event Changes Us All

Providing more than 3500 patients with free dental care in a 2-day period is no small feat. Yet, this is what happened at Madison's Mission of Mercy, a Wisconsin Dental Association event. "We could not have done this event without the partnership with Meriter," recalls local program chair and area dentist, Allison Dowd, DDS. "From financial help, supplies, access to staff, dental resources, medical back-up, and connections to additional resources, Meriter magically made things happen."

Because of the teamwork, Madison's Mission of Mercy was the largest event of its kind ever held in the nation. "The WDA's Mission of Mercy helps patients who cannot access care because they don't have insurance or cannot afford the care they need. Safety net programs like Meriter's Max W. Pohle Dental Clinic and others in and around Madison are doing all they can to address the community's need but demand outpaces available resources. As a volunteer run event, the Mission of Mercy can help bring relief to patients who are struggling to get care by treating cavities, pulling teeth, and treating infections. The Mission of Mercy also provides preventative care and education.

"It is easy to forget that for some people dental care is a luxury. It hits home when you see a 20-year-old patient who had most of his teeth pulled due to rampant cavities, and he is crying because he is happy to be free of pain. Patients and volunteers both get an experience of compassion that they are not soon to forget this event changes us all. With Meriter's help, we were able to bring this to more people than ever before."