Post Author: Katrina Paxson
I stood in the Sanctuary and saw the swarm of people wearing bright yellow and green “volunteer” t-shirts, sitting and chatting with one another, surprisingly chipper for 8:30am on a Saturday. They were some of the two hundred people that will help our second annual “Touched Twice Health Clinic” to go smoothly. We had been planning, organizing, training, and recruiting for a year and now the community we aimed to serve was about to pour through our church doors.
Each spring, St. Paul UMC is transformed into a free one-day health clinic that addresses not only the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual needs of the community. When our guests arrive, they are paired with a “friend,” a volunteer who will walk with them throughout the day, taking them to the services they would like, but also listening to and getting to know each guest.
As they fill out the registration form, the guest may choose from the numerous services we are providing: medical and dental assessments; mammograms and pap smears offered by one of the local hospitals; hearing, skin cancer, and vision screenings (along with free reading glasses); legal advice; physical and occupational therapy; a warm meal. While these opportunities take care of the physical well-being of our guests, we also want to help them have a positive attitude about themselves, so we offer services to meet their spiritual and emotional needs: haircuts, makeovers, manicures, family photos, and prayer. After our guests have visited their chosen stations, they may drop by the clothes closet and the food pantry, and then move on to fill out a guest exit survey and receive a bag with a Bible, along with some other goodies.
How did we get to the day where we were able to (smoothly!) serve three hundred seventy-two guests from our community? Having one year “under our belt” helped, of course, but even at our first clinic we jokingly said we could have five guests or five hundred! (We ended up with two hundred that year.)
We followed the basic schedule suggested by Touched Twice United, an organization started by a group of people in Louisville, Kentucky with a vision of serving people in their community. The name, Touched Twice, comes from Mark 8:22-25 when Jesus touched the blind man twice. At the clinics, guests are “Touched Twice” as they receive physical assistance in addition to being shown Christian hospitality and love. Touched Twice United provides a guide with examples of services to be offered, a schedule to follow, and suggestions for the day of the clinic. Our church used this guide, modifying it to suit our church building, goals, volunteers, and the needs of our community.
We started the Touched Twice Clinic when a lay member, the chair of our Health and Wellness Team, approached me with the suggestion. Little did I know how big of a project we would take on, or how meaningful and wonderful it would be for our church and community.
The volunteers for each of the service areas were mostly members of our church: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, Mary Kay consultants. To fill in where we needed more professionals, members of the church asked their hairdressers, dentists, and manicurists if they would like to volunteer. The doctors were given $4 Kroger cards (the amount of many generic prescriptions) and a referral list of resources around town where guests could go if they needed more extensive treatment than we were able to provide. The “friends” were trained, not only about where each of the services would be offered, but about confidentiality and to take time with their guest and be a friend, not just a worker.
We advertised on our website and with flyers distributed to people who come in our doors looking for assistance, at schools, at other local churches and agencies, in the newspaper – everywhere we could think!
1 Peter 4:10-11a tells us, “10Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 11Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ.”
Using the strengths and passions of our congregation and the guidance from Touched Twice United, we were able to meet some of the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of numerous people in our community. And now… we look forward to next year!
Image by: U.S. Army Korea
Used with permission