Community Health Ministry (CHM) (insert years here) was located on the bottom floor of Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse. The goal and purpose was to encourage people to walk in a healthy life: body, mind and spirit. CHM offered a diaper bank, cooking classes and home visits which extended support and encouragement for healthy living.
The diaper bank and cooking classes provided wonderful one-on-one time with a volunteer. A young mother who took part in cooking classes had been in foster care as a teenager; the cooking class was the first time that she had used a stove and cooked a homemade meal.
CHM was also able to provide parents with information on Early Intervention Services for infants and toddlers with speech delays and motor delays. We were able to guide parents to services that existed within our community, and none of it would have been possible without relational ministry.
An Advocate in Times of Need
Being hospitalized is a stressful time in someone's life, a time when they are at their weakest and most vulnerable. Everyone needs an advocate during these times; it not only eases stress but allows for better outcomes. Spiritual connections can then be made with church family in a way like no other time allows.
The Community Health Ministry stepped in at these times to advocate for patients who had no local family during hospital admissions or when health needs arose. Advocates were able to get needed medical equipment ordered and help explain patients' living arrangements so that patient needs could be best met after discharge. Volunteers also made hospital visits and met with physicians for patients who needed assistance communicating direct needs or concerns. Being a liaison for these situations allowed us to then communicate with churches and pastors on the ways the church could reach out and help.
CHM additionally helped guide families through insurance denials and connect those with no insurance or high deductibles to discount prescription plans and programs for free mammogram vouchers. Every situation was unique; we never knew what would arise next.
Helping in Our Community
Unfortunately, homelessness exists in Greenville. A few years ago, there was a young woman in that situation who came into Fresh Grounds daily for several weeks. Through conversations, it was discovered that she had been living in an abandoned house, she had no family and had been raised in foster care. At age eighteen, she was sent out on her own. Finding herself in a dangerous relationship, she had nowhere left to turn.
CHM was able to help her find temporary housing and clothing, and with God's help, doors were opened for this young woman. Through the Health Ministry, she was connected with the different services that she needed.
Moving Forward Together
Plans included a garden for community members; the hope was that we would someday have a teaching kitchen for families to take classes and learn how to cook what they grow. Our intent was help families help themselves, for idle hands to be busied, and for a sense of purpose to ensue.
Each aspect of Health Ministry depended on the building of relationships and reaching out to families in our community. In our culture, families in need are all too familiar with services and have little to no familiarity with community. Community Health Ministry was about just that, reaching into the lives of families to build relationships and help meet their needs and allowing for stronger, healthier families. Within the center of community lies the family. Imagine the possibilities!