Commentary by Brad Thompson
Out of a building that serves as the St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry on 30th Street in Indianapolis, two Zionsville healthcare professionals help run a free medical clinic. Operated by Gennesaret Free Clinics, this particular clinic operates while the pantry is distributing food.
Volunteers including Dr. Lucinda Keller and Nicole Jasperson, Pharm.D., both with Zionsville ties, offer their professional help, caring for patients. They work as part of a cohesive team of professionals that typically includes an administrative person (who signs people in and manages the files), a nurse, pharmacist and a doctor, as well as other help when they can find it. They try to see as many as 14 to 18 patients in a two-hour span, so extra hands are always helpful.
Volunteers with backgrounds such as nurse practitioners, nurses and EMTs can be put to good use in preparing patients for their visit with the doctor, and the clinic makes use of college students, including those who are pre-med and those who are studying pharmacy. Often the volunteers sign up for one shift a month, which may be two or three hours of work. Several of the open hours are in the evenings, as well as Saturday morning, when patients are best able to come.
Jasperson is a 2009 graduate of Zionsville Community High School, having been born and raised in Zionsville. She now lives on the north side of Indianapolis and has recently started volunteering at the clinic.
Keller gives her time freely because “there is a need, and I can do something about it. Often in life it is easier to write a check than to give time or energy, but sometimes we need to use our hands and feet to meet needs. I think Jesus wanted his followers to care for humanity.”