Mabel's Free Clinic was but a dream for Mabel Clare Proudley who helped indigent children and families in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, for many years. Then she met Dr. Keith Routley, a retired dentist from Winnepeg, Manitoba, who wintered in the Rio Grande Valley, and convinced him to help the children with their dental needs. He borrowed dental equipment from the Canadian government to do dental work for the children in Nuevo Progreso during the winter months. This he did for several years until the building he was using became unavailable. That is when several RV and Mobile parks got together and raised funds and built a 28 x 40 foot dental and medica1 building in Nuevo Progreso. The land was made available by the Mexican government.
The construction of the building was started at the end of January 1998 and was dedicated the end of March 1998. All labor was donated by Winter Texans, with a few things being done by Mexican laborers. Most of the equipment used in the clinic was donated.
DIF of Mexico, somewhat similar to our welfare system, furnishs a dentist, medical doctor and a receptionist Monday thru Friday for half days the entire year. Individual dental and medica1 groups from several states, come down and use the facilities. Several thousand indigent patients (children and adults), have been treated at the clinic, free of charge.
In April of 2000, a 1999 Ford 15 passenger van, was donated to the Association. We transport children from the school in town and the outlying countryside, to Mabel's Free Clinic. Besides dental and medical help, we also provide optometry, and examinations for women, and are starting English lessons for those interested. Also, an optometrist from Pharr and a chiropractor from Weslaco as well as Lenscrafters, have indicated an interest in helping out.
The use of the clinic has exceeded everyone's expectations, and an addition of 24 feet x 48 feet was begun in January 2003.
In August of 2003, with no previous notice, the DIF sponsored clinic staff were all released from their employment by the Mexican government. There were many other Mexican federal and state employees released at the same time. Because of this action, the Clinic Board voted to pay the salaries of our clinic staff in order to maintain our services to the indigent people of Nuevo Progreso. Our clinic staff all agreed to continue their services, and to take a slight reduction in pay. This decision means that we do not have the funds to complete our building addition, and we are relying on contributions from friends and organization in order to keep operating.
The Association continues to underwrite the on-going cost of the clinic. We have started charging a small fee for pharmacy prescriptions in order to re-order medications. If someone cannot pay, the medications are free. One of our big expenses is the cost of insurance and the upkeep of the van. We also pay for the water and electricity, which in the past was paid by the Mexican government.
Our Association welcomes dental, medical and optometrist personnel who are willing to donate some time and service to the clinic.
The Association has an annual spring breakfast fund-raiser at Southern Comfort Park in Weslaco, TX. One hundred percent of a1l donations go to the clinic operation. We are a registered non-profit corporation in both the USA and Mexico, so all contributions are tax deductible. Any help will be greatly appreciated.