Local Star Wars movie fans raise money for Faith Community Health

Photo, from left: Faith Community Health board member Perilyn Olson-Johns and her son, Luke, attended as their Star Wars doppelgängers Dec. 14 at the premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

“You could tell it was a Star Wars movie,” Kenn Tilus said, “with so many fans wearing Star Wars T-shirts, a Princess Leia outfit and other costumes.” Tilus, executive director of Faith Community Health, said the premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi at Branson Meadows Cinema on Dec. 14 was a fundraising event for the charitable clinic.

Star War fans raised about $10,000 to see the movie and support affordable healthcare in Branson. “It was really a fun evening watching several generations of Star Wars fans. Grandparents, who watched the first Star Wars movie 40 years ago, were there with their grandchildren,” Tilus said. Popcorn, drinks, snacks, Star Wars trading cards and photos on the “red carpet” were included for fans.

Tilus said this year has been a financial struggle for the clinic, which has received several grants for medical supplies, but none for operations in 2017. With decreased grant funding, the clinic has been forced to raise patient fees, and donor support is essential to providing services. ”Our patients are struggling to make ends meet,” Tilus said.

Faith Community Health offers primary medical care and KwikCare services.  The clinic also offers mental health counseling, vision exams and a dispensary. Faith Community Health does not accept Medicaid or Medicare, and most patients do not have access to healthcare insurance. Fees for visits are based on a sliding income scale, ranging from $25 to $55 for most patients. Faith Community Health was founded in 2008 to meet the healthcare needs of the hardworking people who make Branson’s tourism economy possible.

Faith Community Health thanks Randy Brashers with Branson Meadows Cinema 11, Kevin Hutcheson with Chick-fil-A, Pamela Spears, Callie St. Clair Photography and Karen Halfpop for their sponsorships and services for the Star Wars premiere fundraiser.