The Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center free clinic received two shots in the arm last week.

The major one was the announcement that the Northland Columbus Deanery of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus is once again making a major donation to the nonprofit that operates out of the Haimerl Center on Morse Road.

Helping Hands will receive $50,000 a year for three years, according to a press release from the Deanery.

The decision to continue the annual $50,000 donation for an additional three years could not come at a better time, according to Noreen Palmer, Helping Hands executive director.

That's because of efforts under way to dismantle the Affordable Care Act passed under President Barack Obama.

"I want to emphasize the timeliness of the funding with the repeal of the ACA," she wrote in an email. "It provides hope that the poor and underserved will receive health care during difficult times."

"We're just thankful that we've been granted this type of mercy from the churches," Palmer said in an interview. "We need to do everything we can to prevent some sort of health crisis. If people are treated, you have a healthy community."

"The Northland Deanery has been a huge supporter of the clinic for six years, which has enabled the clinic to expand hours and provide life-saving treatment and medication to patients," the release from the Deanery said.

The clinic serves people who have incomes within 200-percent of the poverty level. It is primarily staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and students. The support fills an essential need in the neighborhood and surrounding area.

The members of the Northland Columbus Deanery of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus include St Anthony of Columbus, St. Elizabeth of Columbus, St. James the Less of Columbus, St. John Neumann of Sunbury, St. Matthias of Columbus, Church of the Resurrection of New Albany and St. Paul the Apostle of Westerville.

The Deanery first opted to support the existing free clinic rather than start a separate operation in February 2011.

"We basically settled on the Helping Hands clinic because no matter what happens with the health care issue with the federal government ... there's going to be a need for people without health insurance to get health care," the Rev. Charles Klinger of St. Paul's said at the time. "We thought that this was a great program that was already in place and that this would be something that was filling a very big need in our neighborhood, broadly defined 'neighborhood.'

"This really is an ecumenical venture."

In addition to the donation from the Deanery, the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education's Franklin County Neighborhood Arts program is providing Helping Hands with $500 for an "Arts in the Garden Project."

Palmer said the money will be used to allow clinic patients waiting to be seen n opportunity to decorate a piece of sculpture to be erected in the Good Samaritan Garden located behind the Haimerl Center on the property of Ascension Lutheran Church.

"It's a way for the patients to give back," she said.