Poore Medical Clinic

The late Dr. Henry and Nina Poore stand outside the Poore Clinic downtown. The clinic's annual fundraiser, Beans and Rice, will take place September 23 at the Orpheum Theater. 

Kelli Tresgallo

The sixth annual Beans and Rice fundraiser for the Poore Clinic will take attendees back in time this year, with a program modeled off an old-time radio show.

“The whole program will be live an old-fashioned radio show, there will be live music and live skits,” said Eric Walden, the executive director of the Poore Clinic. “The audience will be like the live radio audience.”

The family-friendly performance will feature music from the Poore Boys and Family, as well as face painting and balloon animal making for kids.

Each attendee will get a cup of beans and rice to eat at the event, prepared by the Sunshine Rescue Mission.

The beans and rice tradition dates back to when the Poore Clinic’s co-founder, the late Henry Poore, began working in Flagstaff, said Nina Poore, Henry’s wife and the clinic’s co-founder.

“When we first came to Flagstaff, my husband worked with Dr. (Charles) Sechrist,” Nina said. “Dr. Sechrist sent him to Doney Park back when there was nothing, I mean nothing, in Doney Park. But there was an old man there with pneumonia.”

Henry treated the man in Doney Park, and when he was about to leave, the man asked, “Where are my beans?” Nina said. Henry did not know what the man meant, so when he finished the treatment, he went back to Flagstaff.

When he got back, he asked Sechrist about the beans. Sechrist showed him some burlap bags of beans and rice in his office, along with a scoop and paper bags. Patients who were in need could take bags of beans and rice home after their visit, Nina said.

“So my husband went back out and took him the beans and rice,” Nina said.

Walden said the clinic hopes to raise $50,000 from the fundraiser, which is the only one of the year for the free clinic.

“The money goes directly into providing primary medical and dental care to Coconino Country residents without insurance,” Walden said.

Patients who qualify to be treated at the clinic must not have insurance and must make 200 percent or below of the federal poverty level, Walden said. Nina said there are services, like AHCCCS, that serve people who qualify, but patients at the Poore Clinic do not qualify for AHCCCS.

“We are 100 percent supported by the community,” Nina said. “They have been so gracious and supportive of us. None of this would be possible without the volunteers, medical professionals who volunteer, we are so, so grateful.”

Tickets to the event cost $15 and can be purchased ahead of time at the Poore Clinic, the Flagstaff Community Market, the Orpheum box office and Rainbow’s End.

The event will be held Sept. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater. 

“Dr. Poore felt strongly that this event be a community event, and be accessible to families to celebrate the work done by the clinic,” Walden said, adding that most of the funds are not raised by the ticket sales, but usually the live auction.

This year’s auction will feature auctioneer Russell Mann, and will include Babbitt Ranches beef, a river trip, a stay at a cabin in Oak Creek Canyon, a full set of orthodontic braces and a Shonto Begay painting.

The medical clinic had about 1,100 visits and the dental clinic had about 600 patients last year, Walden said.

“The reality is there are people who do not have insurance,” Walden said. “The need is not diminishing.”

The reporter can be reached at cvanek@azdailysun.com or 556-2249.

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Corina Vanek covers city government, city growth and development for the Arizona Daily Sun.

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