Nonprofit clinic serves Shelby County community

Published 1:09 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Volunteer nurses meet with patients at the Community of Hope Health Clinic, the only free clinic in Shelby County. (Reporter photo/Jessa Pease)

Volunteer nurses meet with patients at the Community of Hope Health Clinic, the only free clinic in Shelby County. (Reporter photo/Jessa Pease)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— Since 2008, the Community of Hope Health Clinic has offered primary care services to the residents of Shelby County who do not have access to health care or government benefit programs.

The nonprofit organization, located at 2000 County Services Drive, functions through volunteer nurses, physicians and interpreters who offer three clinics for those who qualify.

“It’s main purpose was to make sure that those who had no access to health care or government assistance had the opportunity to come and see a physician or nurse practitioner,” said Executive Director Justin Johnston. “We’ve been going strong ever since.”

Clinics run on Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 5-8:30 p.m. Johnston said the hours can vary based on the volunteers’ schedules and the amount of patients.

Retired professionals and those who are newer to the field often staff the day clinics, according to Johnston, and current professionals often leave their day job to volunteer for the evening clinic.

“The amount of money that comes from in-kind services from our providers, our interpreters and our nurses is priceless,” Johnston said.

To qualify for services, new patients are required to attend an intake, which is held every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Applicants should bring proof of identification, residency and income.

Johnston said the applicants cannot have any kind of benefits, such as VA, Medicare or Medicaid. Household income must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

As the only free clinic in Shelby County, Johnston said they pull people from all over the area, but the majority of patients come from Alabaster and Pelham.

“It helps those who, of course, don’t have the means to do so,” Johnston said. “We are a nonprofit that is faith-based, so it’s part of our mission to help these people.”

The Community of Hope Health Clinic offers the services of a primary care physician, but does not offer dental or vision. Johnston said they do referrals to other groups who can help with specialized areas.

Most of the funding for the organization comes from the Shelby County Health Services Foundation, but Johnston also applies for grants often and they’ve hosted fundraisers in the past.

“I’m always looking for ways to provide us sponsorships, private donations and people who may sit on the board of foundations,” he said.

He said he’s also on the look out for ways to get the clinic’s name out into the community for additional fundraisers, volunteers and sponsorship opportunities. There is also always a need for day and evening nurses, he added.

For more information, visit or email Justin Johnston at