Bounty of drugstore supplies brings Charlotte giveaway days

Volunteers help NC MedAssist

Volunteers help NC MedAssist to sort OTC meds for distribution
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Volunteers help NC MedAssist to sort OTC meds for distribution

Free, abundant and hassle-free: Could we really be talking about North Carolina’s health care safety net?

Yes, with an asterisk: When it comes to over-the-counter meds and supplies, NC MedAssist literally has truckloads to give away. The group does so monthly in Charlotte and has held half a dozen giveaway days across the state.

Anyone who signs a form saying they can’t afford to buy the medicine can get up to eight items. (MedAssist’s main business is providing prescription drugs for the uninsured; that comes with more stringent income screening.)

The bounty comes from drugstore chains that donate to Charlotte’s Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. The donations are so abundant they strain MedAssist’s office space at the Children and Family Services Center in uptown Charlotte.

Here’s how it works.

What’s available: Pain and allergy medicine, bandages, cough syrup, eyedrops, condoms and other drugstore items.

What’s in top demand: Vitamins. MedAssist staff speculate that struggling families want to stay healthy but can’t fit vitamins in their budget.

Next event: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, July 10, at Project 658, 3646 Central Ave.

Volunteers needed: Volunteers can help sort supplies at any time and are needed to help with giveaway days. Contact Tonia Harris, 704-350-3574 or tharris@medassist.org.

Youth alert: Volunteers as young as 12 can help, so this is an opportunity for youth service projects.

More information: http://medassist.org/

Helms: 704-358-5033;

Twitter: @anndosshelms. This article is done in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.