Thumbs up to the Blue Ridge Medical Center on the opening of its Amherst offices earlier this month.

Founded in 1985, BRMC has been serving the medical needs of folks in Nelson County and northern Amherst County from its Colleen office on U.S. 29. The center provides a full range medical services, including primary care and behavioral health care. And most importantly, BRMC operates on an ability-to-pay basis with a sliding fee for clients that also includes a medication assistance program.

According to Randy Pirtle, BRMC CEO, a third of the patients they see at the Colleen offices come from northern Amherst County. That provided the impetus for a satellite office in Amhest. BRMC’s 1,800-square-foot office is located on Main Street in the town of Amherst.

The Amherst site has the ability to do blood and lab work for patients and is staffed by three support staff, a provider and a case worker. For right now, it’s open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. There are plans in the works to extend operational hours once more staff is hired.

The BRMC has been working for 34 years to bring quality, affordable medical care to all, and that mission continues with the opening of the Amherst office. Well done.

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Thumbs up to the mail carriers of the Lynchburg district who today are taking part in collecting food for the 27th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

In the past several days, carriers have left special bags residents can use to leave nonperishable foot items out for pickup today, but really, any bag will do — just pitch in.

Since its inception in 1993, Stamp Out Hunger has collected 1.6 billion pounds of food for food banks and feeding ministries across the country. Locally, one of the main beneficiaries is the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, which services 25 counties and eight cities and based out of Verona. According to Abena Foreman-Trice, who handles marketing and communications for the food bank, the Lynchburg branch alone serves 18,623 people monthly.

Lynchburg Postmaster Mark Williams said the carriers want to blow past last year’s tally of 77,810 pounds of food: Their goal is 100,000 pounds. The food collected last year in the Lynchburg region helped provide almost 65,000 meals to individuals and families.

The needs are varied. The regional food bank is hoping to increase donations for school feeding programs because, during the summer, students aren’t in school and often go without meals at home. If you’re wondering what to donate, think along the lines of items like canned meats, canned and boxed meals, canned or dried beans, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables and cooking supplies.

Every little bit helps. And we, along with the mail carriers, thank you.

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