Two grants totaling $52,000 will bring more local aid to public school students and uninsured county residents.

The grants were awarded by the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley to the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic, which operates the Shenandoah County Free Clinic and the Shenandoah Dental Clinic.

The health clinic, based in Woodstock, plans to use a $30,000 grant to provide counseling services for low-income Shenandoah County public school students and a $22,000 grant to assist uninsured residents with dental services.

“We usually receive something every year in both our clinics, and I’m very grateful,” said Pam Murphy, executive director of the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic.

Often, she said, there are so many requests of the United Way that the amount each recipient receives is significantly reduced from what they requested.

“This is the closest that we ever came,” she said.

Murphy said the two grants will enable the clinic to continue its work helping low-income students and the uninsured around the county, making up for losses in other sources of funding.

This year’s United Way grant was more than last year’s, Murphy said, though she’s become used to seeing decreases in funding from one year to the next.

Grants get reduced over time, she said. Some grants decline by 25% in year two and another 25% in year three.

When there’s a grant that increases, she said that makes up for losses elsewhere.

This year’s school grant will mainly pay for the clinic’s part-time counselor.

The dental grant will help the clinic recoup some of its losses in providing personnel, equipment and other supplies.

“Dental care is extremely expensive,” Murphy said. She figures the clinic loses $150 for every patient it serves.

When grants come in, she said it can really make a huge difference toward helping residents who otherwise couldn’t afford dental care.

Grateful for private donors as well, she said even the smallest donations can make a huge difference in the community.

Earmarking a few dollars a month “[is] just an easy way for a lot of us to give back to charities,” she said.

Even $5 at a time adds up, she said. “We’re the living proof.”

Shenandoah Community Health Clinic provides medical, dental and counseling services to families with Medicaid and other insurances. Sliding scale fees based on family income are available to residents of the county.

Call 540-459-1700 for questions about medical or counseling services, and 540-459-9333 for dental questions.

Contact Josette Keelor at jkeelor@nvdaily.com