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Free clinic a big part of Lincoln’s safety net

Lincoln Journal Star, September 8, 2010

Church-based Clinic with a Heart opened seven years ago to help the sick who had nowhere to turn.

People like Chonz Roman.

On its first day, 14 volunteers from St. Mark's United Methodist Church attended to 19 patients. Volunteers vowed to return monthly.

Not much distinguished those early clinics from their inspiration: St. Mark's missions to a dump in Reynosa, Mexico.

Even today, with the clinic boasting 600 annual volunteers -- more than 50 medical providers -- and providing an estimated $1 million in free care per year, the clinics remain fleeting.

Twice weekly, volunteers drag out tackle boxes of medical supplies, throw up curtains for privacy and create reception areas. A lunch room becomes a pharmacy, an office an exam room. Hours later, everything goes back into its box.