In a community often defined by wealth and privilege, sometimes it’s hard to imagine stark poverty and third world hardship. But it’s there, from Belle Glade east to Lake Worth, and there are people and places in our community that are addressing it, from providing food and shelter to medical care.

One of those organizations celebrates 25 years this year: Caridad Center, the largest free healthcare and dental clinic in the state of Florida (and named South Florida Business Journal Non-Profit Business of the Year in 2013.) More than 400 doctors, dentists and other medical professionals donate their time and provide services valued at over $2.3 million a year to the working poor of Palm Beach County.  Caridad Center provides 26,000 patient visits each year, bypassing costly emergency room visits, which saves Palm Beach County taxpayers an estimated $4.8 million annually.

Caridad Center also provides college scholarships, baby supplies, crisis intervention services, back-to-school supplies, and a popular adopt a family program during the holidays.

The Center is celebrating this milestone with ‘25 Years of Caring: A Salute to the Heroes of Caridad,’ on Monday, April 7th from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the International Polo Club, 3667 120th Ave. South in Wellington. This dinner will honor those volunteers—and the heartfelt work this clinic does. I have been a board member here for many years and I think I stay on because the clinic fills a need that is becoming larger every year—and it fills it with compassion and efficiency. It also reminds me that not everyone in Pam Beach County has two cars, a 401K and a golf club membership. There are other neighbors---people we see every day—who could use our help.

Tickets are available for $250. 

For more information about sponsorship opportunities or for an invitation to the event, call 561/853-1638 or go to caridad.org.

So far. sponsors include International Polo Club and International Polo Club Catering.  Additional sponsors include the Goshen Hill Foundation, FirstPath, Quest Diagnostics, Inc., Bethesda Health, Inc., Maserati of Palm Beach, Grand Champions Polo Club, Phelps Media Group International, Equestrian Sport Productions, Kosinski Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. William McCauley, Daszkal Bolton Accountants and Advisors, the Sun Sentinel, Nurse on Call, Illustrated Properties, Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and The Wanderers Club.

The event co-chairs are Caroline Moran, Sanjiv Sharma and Robert Souaid.  Committee members include Constance Berry, Luis Torres, Richard Retamar, Marie Speed, Paul Archacki, D.D.S., Penny Kosinski, Sugar Savin McCauley and Billy Williams.