WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — The gaming commission is granting $2.59 million in a fund this year. Using the revenue from tip jars in bars and fundraisers, the fund helps non-profits better serve the community.

“It’s a huge benefit for us because it’s operating money that is very hard to come by,” Executive Director of the Community Free Clinic Nicole Houser said.

“Operating funds pay for our nurses pay for our nurse practitioner, and pay for a good bit of the clinical staff that’s needed to do our job and see our patients.”

This is the first time since the start of the pandemic that the grant money is fully funding some local organizations.

“We asked for 50,000 and they gave us 60,000, so it was 10,000 above what we needed or what we asked for, but it’s all going to be needed, especially with inflation and the gas prices rising and us trying to transport as many kids as we possibly can,” Resource Director for the Boys and Girls Club E.J. Fuller said.

The community free clinic provides health services to people in Washington County who are without health insurance. The $175,000 they received will provide tests and medications patients need.

“Our patients have to have done whether that be lab testing, x-rays, EKGs, any type of sonogram, MRIs, whatever is needed,” Houser explained.

For organizations like the boys and girls club of Washington County, their share of the pot will go towards their transportation program.

“The money will be used for our transportation program to transport the kids from our nine schools that were servicing this around the county, so we’ll use it to pay driver salaries and use it for gas and we’ll use it for maintenance of our vans,” Fuller said.

Both organizations agree that without the funds from the grant, it would make providing needed services for the community a little harder.

“They’d be in a crisis mode where since we’re here as a safety net, we can provide the care they need and treat them before hitting that crisis and take care of them just as any regular doctor would,” Houser said.

“We would not be able to pick up any of those kids, so it helps us tremendously,” Fuller said.

“It helps us to be able to serve the community without it, I don’t know how we will do it,” Fuller said.

The gaming commission grant also provides 1.29 million dollars to the Fire and Rescue Association