Our neighbors down the road need a little help.
The Bread of Life Clinic in Montezuma needs medical volunteers.
The clinic, which opened its doors to patients Feb. 21, 2008, was started as an outgrowth of the Bread of Life soup kitchen.
Faye Smith has been involved with the clinic since its inception. She said that the president of the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen’s Board of Directors, Karen Hatten, thought it was a shame that the building that housed the soup kitchen was only being used twice a week.
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Hatten, Smith’s late husband, Chris, and another board member, Chuckie Hanson, came up with the idea of a clinic without really knowing much about getting one started.
The clinic has a connection to Houston County. Chris Smith was a member of the Knights of Columbus at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Warner Robins, and Faye Smith said the Knights of Columbus has been financially supportive of the clinic.
The Bread of Life Health Clinic is open two Thursday evenings a month from 5 p.m. until about 8 or 9 p.m. when all of the patients have been seen. These patients have no insurance, and their family income is no more than 200 percent above poverty level.
“Most of the patients that we see are in their 50s and 60s and have been laid off,” Smith said. “They aren’t old enough for Medicaid and can’t find another job.”
Macon County, although rich in history and community spirit -- it is home to Andersonville National Historic Site -- is one of the poorest in Georgia ranking 155 out of 159 counties in per captia income. Houston County, by comparison, ranks 20th.
Smith said the clinic is not taking new patients due to staff and funding limitations, and there is no emergency room or hospital for general patients in Macon County.
“We treat patients for acute episodic illnesses such as colds, strep throat, UTIs (urinary tract infections), etc. We also care for patients with hypertension, diabetes and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) if they are stable. We do not do physical exams for schools, workman’s comp, etc. because we do not have the staff or the equipment to do so,” Smith said.
The Bread of Life clinic is affiliated with Georgia Volunteer Health Clinics. According to Smith, volunteers with licenses such as MDs, NPs, PAs, RNs and LPNs are granted immunity from prosecution as long as they follow their protocols.
Smith says that the clinic needs medical volunteers and that scheduling is flexible. Some volunteers work one night every other month. To donate to the clinic or get information about becoming a volunteer, call Faye Smith at 478-951-1120.
Alline Kent can be reach by calling 478-396-2467 or at firstname.lastname@example.org