Free clinic looks to add another day

Dr. Mark Wilson, the chief health officer with the Jefferson County Health Department, speaks during a Community of Hope Health Clinic breakfast fundraiser on May 4 at the First Baptist Church of Pelham annex. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Community of Hope Health Clinic is looking to add another day of service at its free clinic in Pelham, organization officials said during a May 4 fundraiser breakfast.

During the breakfast, which was held at the First Baptist Church of Pelham’s annex building, Community of Hope Executive Director Chris Monceret said the clinic currently is booking three-four weeks in advance, and said another day of service could help handle the crowd.

The clinic, which is based at the Shelby County Department of Health building, currently sees patients on Mondays from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Thursdays from 5-8:30 p.m. The clinic is manned by volunteer workers and physicians, many of who come to the clinic after working a full day at other jobs.

The clinic recently moved into a new 2,000-square-foot space in the county Health Department building, which allowed the clinic to open on Mondays.

“We could use another day. But to do that, we will need more physicians and volunteers,” Monceret said. “What we really need is to add another day, because the need is there. I’d like to be able to do more.”

During the breakfast, Community of Hope patient Suzanne Kimbrell praised the clinic, and said the volunteer physicians helped save her life.

“I was slowly dying. I got to 99 pounds,” Kimbrell told the crowd. “They truly, truly helped me. I feel like a new human being. Without them, a lot of folks would be hurting.”

During the 2011 breakfast fundraiser, the clinic set a fundraising goal of $5,000, said former Community of Hope board member Jennifer Philpot.

“I’m happy to say we raised $17,000. It’s that generosity that has allowed us to open another day,” Philpot said. “But we could probably fill up our calendar without (adding) another day.”

Clinic volunteer Dr. Mark Wilson, the chief health officer for the Jefferson County Health Department, said the economy has caused many local residents to lose their health insurance coverage.

“For a number of reasons, a lack of health insurance can lead to death,” Wilson said. “We need more resources to meet the medical needs of our community.”

To donate to Community of Hope, visit Communityofhopeclinic.com.