Free Clinic Improves the Health of the Community

The Impact Your Health Portland team had worked for months to organize their annual free community clinic in 2020. A date was scheduled and then postponed as pandemic health and safety concerns grew. Another date was chosen but, as it approached, the team realized holding the clinic still wasn't a safe option. The event was again put on hold.

Finally, in August 2021, the prospects were promising. Volunteers masked up and precautions were taken to help keep everyone as safe as possible. The Portland Adventist Academy gym floor was set up with dental stations, the stage with curtained medical exam cubicles and the cafeteria was set up as a vision center.

Impact Your Health Portland was created to offer free healthcare services to the uninsured and homeless populations, as well as refugees, immigrants and underinsured people. Those needs don't just go away during a pandemic. There was a definite need for the medical, dental and vision clinic and, though the turnout wasn't as it had been in previous years, the blessings were evident in the care of more than 430 patients.

Patients were offered dental care, complete with teeth cleaning or needed fillings and extractions. Also available were eye exams, free prescription glasses, general medical exams, specialist referrals, sports physicals, foot washing, pedicures and, of course, COVID-19 vaccines.

Extending beyond physical care, volunteers also worked to fulfill patients' much-needed wellbeing. Haircuts and professional photos were availalbe to help clients prepare resumés or important certifications. In addition, just outside the gym doors, a team of community resource providers offered health coaching, a homemade meal, a mobile food pantry and information on more services available in the community. Volunteers offered to pray with patients and many gratefully accepted.

This incredible project was possible through the work of hundreds of compassionate, dedicated volunteers who managed every aspect of the event. Whether their work was welcoming eager patients or providing care and medical expertise, volunteers shared a tangible example of Jesus' desire to heal the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of all people. Every patient was treated with respect, dignity and as a precious child of the King.

Featured in: November/December 2021