Fundraiser to benefit Gennesaret Free Clinics

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If you were homeless, had surgery and needed home health care, where would you go? It is likely you’d be in a situation to just get sick again and end up back in the hospital.

Gennesaret Free Clinics are a way to stop that cycle. They have clinics all over Central Indiana, including a dental clinic, a mobile unit and a home health recovery program for people who’ve just been released from the hospital.

All the doctors, nurses and pharmacists are volunteers and the care the patients receive is free.

“It is too bad it is needed but it is needed, so we do what we can to help,” said Mark Varnau, a volunteer pharmacist and clerk at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry location. He’s been volunteering for 22 of the 25 years Gennesaret Free Clinics have been open.

“Very often people will leave with tears in their eyes saying I just lost my job and I really needed help right now and thank you for being here,” Varnau said.

That’s the case with client, Loretta Richardson.

“It helps a lot because I don’t have money. I don’t have a job right now, but I am looking for one,” Richardson said.

She hasn’t seen a dentist in years. The clinic can help her with that, too.

“I think it is wonderful. Maybe someday I’ll be able to help people like that,” Richardson said.

Alicia Johnson-Seagraves is another client. Since she’s on a fixed income and disability, she said she’d never be able to afford this type of care if it weren’t for the clinic.

“You get your medicines, all your medical care, if you’re sick in between other than your regular medicines, your doctors give you all of the attention,” Johnson-Seagraves said.

The clinics serve the working poor and homeless-even providing a mobile unit for people who don’t have transportation.

“It is a good thing to be thankful for because a lot of people don’t volunteer and they take their days to help other people that they don’t know and don’t have to help,” Johnson-Seagraves said.

These clinics are set up all over the city and are completely self-sustaining. Everything is paid for by individual donations, grants and fundraisers.

“Art for Beds” is the main fundraiser for the clinics this year. The event is at the Conrad in downtown Indianapolis on Sunday, April 28. It runs from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For information on the fundraiser, call 639-5635, extension 200 or visit the clinic’s website.

You can volunteer or donate by going here.

And, if you need help, you can also find a clinic near you.

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