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Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Lunch with Doris Buffett, anyone?

To help raise money for the area’s free mental health clinic, local philanthropist Doris Buffett is offering a “Lunch with Doris” auction item at Fredericksburg Counseling Services’ upcoming silent auction/fundraising gala. The highest bidder at the Feb. 10 event gets to share a meal with Buffett, board president Catherine Jennings said.

The fundraising gala will be held from 8-11 p.m. at Fredericksburg Hospitality House & Conference Center. The silent auction will take place along with ballroom dancing and big band music. Tickets cost $50 per person; table sponsorship is also available, at prices ranging from $250 to $1,000.

The clinic’s staff and supporters have been trying to raise money since Buffett told them last year that if they raised at least $50,000 by Feb. 17, she would match the amount they bring in by that date, dollar for dollar.

Jennings said they’ve hit the $50,000 requirement, and now “the sky’s the limit.”

“We’ve got to make the most of it while we can,” Jennings said of the matching grant offer. “She hasn’t put a ceiling on it. ”

Fredericksburg Counseling Services provides free mental health care to about 100 clients each week. Three part-time staff members help run the clinic and oversee the work of more than a dozen student interns. They provide individual and group counseling to poor, uninsured residents of the Fredericksburg region.

Buffett’s grant offer has helped raise the clinic’s profile in the community, Jennings said. “More and more, mental health is coming out of the shadows,” she said. “As it should.”

For more information, visit fcsagency.org or call 540/373-2320.

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