In the wee hours of Sunday, October 7, hundreds lined up outside of the World Church headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. to receive free vision and dental care offered by The Hope Clinic, a one-day collaborative effort.
General Conference volunteers, along with partners Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN), Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC), the Hope Channel, ADRA, and Emmanuel-Brinklow Seventh-day Adventist Church (Ashton, Maryland), pooled resources to sponsor the 3rdannual clinic, offering much needed medical care to the local community.
Days before the event, the interior of the World Church headquarters was transformed into a clinic with specific stations for eye exams, dental exams, extractions, and fillings, flu shots, HIV testing, and lifestyle counseling. There was also a special area for guests to receive free winter jackets, gloves, scarves and hats, haircuts, and massage therapy.
When doors opened at 7:00 a.m., people streamed in to register for services. General Conference Health Ministries associate director Torben Bergland was amazed as he surveyed the sea of people waiting in the auditorium. “It was emotional for me to see that many people in need of help,” he said.
In addition to medical assistance, community-based vendors such as the HOC were on hand to provide information on other services available to guests. The HOC offers affordable housing and support for low-income individuals and families in Montgomery County. HOC administrative assistant Nicole Davis loves getting involved. “I just love helping people! Anything that I can do to help people means a lot to me,” she says. “Everyone is welcome here,” she continues, underscoring the event’s main purpose. “It doesn’t matter age, race, gender, everyone gets free service. It doesn’t just stop here at the clinic. You network, you build bonds. A lot of times the doctors even go out of their way to set up additional appointments with patients. It’s not a one-stop-shop. It goes beyond that. And that’s our whole goal: to make sure that people get the services they need.”
Event coordinator Tanya Holland agrees. “The clinic was a tremendous success,” she reports. “We had over 65 medical volunteers including dentists, hygienists, optometrists, nurses, and general practitioners. Over 1,200 people visited The Hope Clinic, coming from as far away as northern Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.The value of donated dental care alone was close to $83,000.”
Ian Barrow was one of the 350 volunteers who helped set-up, tear-down, distribute, guide, translate, register, plan, escort, clean, and much more. Barrow says he would definitely participate in an event like this again. “I’m not a medical person but I’m doing what I can to assist those in need. This has really been a great experience and I would recommend for anyone to do it. It’s a mission project close to home!”
If you would like more information about AMEN and upcoming health clinics, please visit amenfreeclinic.org.