Samaritan Health Center Alms, March 31

—Jessie Prestwood, CCC member

The Alms Offering collected 3/31/19 will be given to Samaritan Health Center. CCC has partnered with SHC since the clinic’s inception in 2009, with both money and the involvement of our church members in various ways. I get to work at SHC one day per week. The mission of Samaritan Health Center is to share the love of Christ by serving those in need through health care.

What does this look like? Well, on the surface it looks about like you’d expect. We have a beautiful, free-standing clinic (in a strip mall in Durham—3205 University Drive—just down from Target, next to Domino’s) with 4 exam rooms and a blood draw area, a room for physical therapy, a couple offices...and three bathrooms (luxury!). We have primary care doctors. We also have a part-time staff dentist and many dental volunteers. And we have volunteer optometrists and ways to source free glasses most of the time. We do lab tests, order radiology studies, review outside records, and help people get quality medicines as cheaply as possible. We keep costs low by having a small paid staff supplemented by a large team of volunteers (nurses, administrators, grant writers, doctors, college interns, data reporters, and a dedicated board.)

More than 80% of our patients do not have insurance. (18% of adults in North Carolina are uninsured. Currently in NC, poverty alone does not qualify an adult for Medicaid.) Some of our patients live at the Durham Rescue Mission. Some are refugees—we have an invaluable interpreter corps. Some are adults who have jobs that don’t provide insurance.

There are of course as many different stories as there are patients. Many are deeply personal but medically not so dramatic. We treat lots of hypertension and diabetes. And some stories are more dramatic. It's not rare to hear about an alarming symptom (chest pain, bleeding, even new seizures) that has been going on for “a while.” We are grateful for amazing local hospitals (of both shades of blue) that provide high-tech, lifesaving care.

So, this looks a lot like any other primary care clinic. But the “share the love of Christ” part is not just verbiage. We aim to love sinners well and help them know the good news of real forgiveness and life-transformation that we, as sinners, have found in Christ. We aim to love saints well, encouraging them with all the riches of fellowship with Jesus. We aim to love sufferers well, working with any and all tools to provide compassionate presence, relief, and comfort. And like Greg has taught us, we often find the sinner, saint, and sufferer all in the same person.

We are very grateful for CCC’s ongoing support. It has been a fruitful partnership that we hope will continue to bear fruit for years to come.