The Family Peace Project received a $1,550 donation from Carter Chiropractic in Athens yesterday.

Dr. William Carter, who set up shop in Athens in May 1999, has made annual donations to FPP for the past three years. The funds are collected during his office’s annual Patient Appreciation Week.

“That gives me the opportunity to help out my patients and a good organization, which unfortunately we need,” Carter said. He added that he hoped to see other doctors in town follow his example.

This was the first year that Carter’s office donated exclusively to the Family Peace Project. Carter said he was told by the Athens Chamber of Commerce that FPP was the most needy service organization in town this year. He also thought it was a good way to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

October is also National Chiropractic Month, incidentally.

“This is tremendous,” FPP Director Marlena Taylor said. “Every donation is gratefully received. This is just over the top.

“To me, a $25 donation is needed.”

Carter’s Patient Apprecia-tion idea was implemented about a month after evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita arrived in Henderson County. They came in droves, sometimes carrying nothing but the clothes on their backs. Those who stayed were in great need of the services provided by the Family Peace Project, the Food Pantry and other charitable groups.

For seven days, Carter and his staff opened the clinic for free spinal adjustments, requesting only voluntary donations as payment. The proceeds were split between FPP and the Henderson County Food Pantry.

“The first time, we did it for a full week,” chiropractic assistant Stacie Underhill said. “There’s no way we could do those kinds of hours again.

This year, Patient Appreciation was held on a Friday and a Saturday, Sept. 14 and 15. Visitors were offered coffee, donuts and chair massages, and they received Carter Chiropractic T-shirts afterward.

Carter managed to treat 122 patients in that two-day period. The average adjustment time was about 10 minutes.

“The parking lot was just packed,” Underhill said. “We probably had 40 cars out there.”

This year, Carter requested minimum donations of $15 instead of $10. As a result, the clinic raised more money than last year despite the shorter appreciation period.

“The majority of ‘em did the requested $15,” Underhill said. She said the largest donation the clinic received was for $50.

As awareness of the Family Peace Project spreads, the number of domestic abuse victims knocking on Taylor’s door increases. So far this year, FPP has helped 190 people; the program assisted 197 individuals in all of 2006.

“I get people whose needs range from paying the rent to buying a car,” she said. “To me, it’s just a daily prayer: Lord, You know what we need to meet the need.” As of August, FPP has spent $30,000 on clients, she said.

FPP pamphlets were also made available to patients at Carter’s clinic during Patient Appreciation, so more people in need may be on the way.

“I’m sure they had customers who had never heard of us before,” she said. “Dr. Carter really exemplifies small-town business. Just the caring and concern for the community ... is pretty incredible.”

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e-mail dgordon@athensreview.com

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