Sheila Brooks, a clinical supervisor at the Greater Killeen Free Clinic, organizes medical supplies while working at the clinic, Monday, December 16, 2013 in downtown Killeen.

For the working poor, living paycheck-to-paycheck and spending money on doctor visits can sometimes mean skipping child care payments or struggling to pay rent or electricity bills on time.

To help low-income, uninsured children and adults in Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties, the Greater Killeen Free Clinic offers free medical services.

“If they have extra expenses, it’s hard for them to maintain stability in their families,” said Marlene DiLillo, executive director of the clinic. “Overall in Texas ... we have about 25 percent uninsured and our county reflects that.”

The nonprofit clinic, which served 5,295 patients in 2013, held a Caring Hearts fundraiser throughout February to benefit new programs and services.

Annie Cooper is a member of the clinic’s board and its fundraising chairwoman.

She’s also assistant vice president for business development at The National Banks of Central Texas.

Cooper involved her co-workers in the fundraiser by competing against First State Bank to see which bank could sell more paper hearts in exchange for $1 donations.

The hearts were displayed on the walls of the banks.

The funds will be donated to the clinic, which plans to begin treating hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, thyroid issues and asthma patients this summer.

“The employees took such pride in the purpose (and) were passionate about what they were doing, while at the same time had a blast,” Cooper said.

The fundraiser also increased awareness of clinic services.

By summer, the clinic will offer expanded gynecological services, chronic disease treatment, health promotion classes, mental health services and an exercise program.

Treatment will include a mandatory education requirement to help understand, control and prevent chronic diseases.

DiLillo said she hasn’t tallied how much the two banks raised last month, but she expects it to be between $8,000 and $10,000.

“It was great,” DiLillo said. “(The banks) became advocates for the free clinic by raising awareness to the customers ... and raising money for a good cause. When it’s a dollar apiece, anyone can donate.”

The free clinic is at 718 N. Second St., Killeen.

Call 254-618-4211 or go to

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7553. Follow her on Twitter at SarahRafique.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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