Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Samaritans: Free Medical Clinic Will Open at Celebration Fellowship

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Samaritans: Free Medical Clinic Will Open at Celebration Fellowship

Article excerpt

Help is on the way for at least some of the medically disenfranchised in the St. Charles area. Next month, a free medical clinic will open in St. Charles at Celebration Fellowship Church, 2140 North Fourth Street.

The clinic will be staffed by volunteer physicians, nurses and secretaries serving those who fall through the cracks of the health-care system.

The clinic, in two rooms of the church basement, will be furnished with equipment donated by area hospitals and physicians. Organizers say the Ce lebration Fellowship seemed the ideal location because its pastor, Jerry Jones, and his wife, Elaine, have established a presence in the area.

Three years ago, the Joneses started the Oasis of Love Food pantry in response to the plight of flood victims. With the help of volunteers from other area churches, the Joneses have served free lunches and dinners Mondays through Fridays and have become acquainted with many of the area's needy.

"We want to do anything we can to help the community in the broadest sense, including opening a training center for those who need help getting back to work," Elaine Jones said. "We're looking forward to having the clinic because we get daily calls from people . . . many with small children who can't get medical care because they don't have health insurance."

Patients will be asked for contributions, if they are able to pay, to help fund the program.

The medical clinic was spearheaded by Ginger Hollrah of Faith United Methodist Church in St. Charles. Hollrah and eight other women who belong to the group United Methodist Women modeled the ecumenical outreach program on one in Hilton Head, S.C. There, a group of retired physicians banded together to provide medical services to the working poor: those who couldn't afford health insurance but weren't eligible for Medicaid assistance.

Hollrah estimates there are more than 17,000 medically indigent in the St. Charles area.

To address their health problems, she enlisted the help of the St. Charles medical and business community. St. Joseph Health Center and Barnes St. Peters responded with seed money and equipment. …

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