Giving Hope


What would you do if you had no home, were sick, living in your car or on the street with no phone and very little money?  I am not talking about India today, but about America.  There are people who exist like this in Albany, the capital of New York State. There is, though,  a beacon of hope and help in the middle of a neighborhood with many challenges for the people living there.  I visited yesterday to see the Free Clinic which is part of the Capital City Rescue Mission.HPIM0600

Sarah Schoof, nurse practitioner, has been running this Free Clinic for almost 10 years.  She is also a qualified nurse for travel medications and inoculations, and she has a long history in helping the needy with her medical training.  She and her husband were involved with helping the poor in Kenya for many years and, she worked in a much larger Free Clinic in Chicago before coming to Albany.img028

The Free Clinic is opened on Tuesday and Friday from 10- 3. There are about 45 volunteering medical professionals working through the month. The day to day work is done by  nurses and nurse practitioners.  Yesterday, there was a young nurse who works in Glenns Falls and wants to volunteer in the clinic.HPIM0567 There are doctors who volunteer and come for referrals on a monthly schedule. HPIM0575There is a medication room where meds are given as needed without any charge.  All men, women and children are served from the neighborhood with the only restriction being that they have no health insurance. Delores This is to serve the people with the greatest need. Twenty five to forty patients are seen on each of the two days. There is a need at the moment for more space….a good and bad problem to 011 They are glad that people are coming to be helped but the tiny space doesn’t adequately cover their needs. I will tell you more about that later.

There are many homeless/destitute people with hypertension or diabetes either undiagnosed or having gone months without medication. I am including some links that may interest you explaining the work of free clinics in the big picture. donate_box-600x400

How Free Clinics will still be important in light of the Affordable Care Act (Obama care):

Click to access Free%20anc%20Charitable%20Clinic%20Health%20Care%20Reform%20Talking%20Points.pdf

Research study showing decreased use of Emergency Department visits for minor problems by uninsured people who use a Free Clinic for care versus non-Free Clinic users:

Click to access JHCPU%202012%20-%20Hwang.pdf

Comparison of Free Clinics with Federally Qualified Health Centers:     listening to Linda's heart

I want to share one personal story of a woman, Linda who stepped out of the darkness and into the light with the help of the Free Clinic.  At age 61, Linda was working 24 shifts or up to 14 days in row just to survive. After this schedule for several years, her body and spirit rebelled and she fell into a deep depression. She had no health insurance at her last job and her health went quickly downhill.   And she was now homeless living with her few belongings in her small car.  Linda was too ill to be able to navigate the New Your State health care system. She had no cell phone and no money to buy one. Needless to say unlimited time and money at a pay phone, if she knew where to find one, was unthinkable. With no address or phone, Linda was lost to the system.

Fortunately Linda’s cousin, who shared this story, knew about the Free Clinic and brought her in. On the first visit, Sarah discovered that Linda had undiagnosed hypertension, was clinically depressed, had lost twenty pounds in a month, and she wore glasses with only one lens intact. She was in desperate need of help. A physical was given; blood tests and medications were prescribed.   Sarah continued to meet with and monitor her progress until the meds improved her health and she began to function again.

Since her dramatic health improvement, Linda has been the caretaker for elderly family members, worked at a church food pantry,  volunteered at a senior center as coordinator, and a good deal of her time now is driving seniors to various doctor appointments. The outreach of this Free Clinic has boundless limits as Sarah helped Linda to step out of her darkness, and she, in turn, has been able to help others.

The clinic has a good problem at the moment.  They are serving too many patients for the space that is available in the mission. The good news is that space will become available soon in the Mission complex but money is needed to renovate it into a clinic space.  The size is twice the size that is available now, and patients will no longer line up in the hallways.   A local cooperation, Hannay Reels, has pledged $15,000 for the new clinic as a matching gift, but $15,000 needs to be raised to receive it.

Some of my blogger friends are halfway around the world and are reading to learn about places like the Free Clinic in America, but there are some right in the Capital District. I am including Sarah’s contact information for those who might like to give either donations or for medical professionals, hours to serve in volunteering. At the very end of the post there a free, 10 second way all of you who are reading this blog can help. Go and vote for Capital City Rescue Center to be awarded the $25,000 check from SEFCU, a local credit union.

Sarah H. Schoof, FNP

Capital Chapter Nurse Practitioner of the Year 2012

Safari Health

48 McCormack Rd

Slingerlands NY  12159


“But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”   1John 3:17

We need your help to receive a $25,000 award!! Your vote counts…for the homeless and needy

Go to: before Aug 16th

 (and vote for Capital City Rescue Mission with each of your email addresses!) 


About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in India and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Giving Hope

  1. uthamz says:

    Nice post , Anne .
    We , from India ,are familiar with even worse situations.
    But to know about such a situation in US was a a surprise .
    Keep up your good work.

    A humble Namaste ( means ” I bow before you ” ) from me.



    • annetbell says:

      I know that there are worse cases of poverty in India, and I was certain that Indians and others from other countries would be surprised at this in America. with our reputation of such wealth. In developing countries the needs are so great that it is impossible to know where to begin. If we go back , I want to take a box of reading glasses to pass out in one of the slums. To think that people can not read because of lack of glasses….costing so little here. I know , too, that reading or lack of that skill is also a problem. Anyway..thank you so much for your kind encouragement. I absolutely love that humble namaste…. I bow before you …. so humble and precious…. thank you ever so much…. a humble Namaste….back atcha! A little American slang….8-)


  2. Mike says:

    Reblogged this on This Got My Attention and commented:
    A nice story.


  3. maryamlatif says:

    Thumbs up… for such a generosity 🙂 loving it… 🙂


  4. Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie says:

    While I don’t have a huge audience for my blog, I wonder if you’d mind if I put a link to this post on my blog for as long as it’s helpful?


    • annetbell says:

      I am terrible with the technology. I am not sure exactly what you mean. Do you mean reblog my blog on yours? Or is there something else? Sounds find to me. I am very honored that you would want to have some connection to mine blog. Namaste. . . .Anne . . . . . Thanks!


      • Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie says:

        At first I just thought I’d put a link from my blog to your blog but I’m going to reblog your post it so the whole blog will be available to anyone who would like to read it…thank you 🙂 I feel that this is a very important issue…Sarah Schoof is a HERO in my book. I’ve never reblogged before (on WordPress), I’m going to try it now and see what happens 🙂


  5. Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie says:

    Reblogged this on Out Of My Mind Images and commented:
    Meet a real life hero, Sarah Schoof, nurse practitioner, who runs a Free Clinic in Albany, New York.

    This post was authored by “annetbell,” whose blog is titled TalesAlongTheWay, have a read.


  6. Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie says:

    I tweaked my part of the reblog just a tiny bit and added some tags and VOTED!!!


    • annetbell says:

      Bless your heart! You are of course welcome to tweak the blogs. Tomorrow’s post is about Indian Fathers. I am excited about it. Anxious to hear if you enjoy it. . . . Namaste . . .Anne


    • annetbell says:

      Today, I have had quite a bit of traffic from your reblog. Several have told me that and the poetry and photography are not my usual readers, but many decided to follow me! Thank you for reblogging and if I can do anything to help you…let me know! Namaste. . . .. Anne


  7. jayantadeepa says:

    Wow Anne for bringing it to people’s notice!


  8. Pingback: The Countdown Begins. . . . . . | TalesAlongTheWay

  9. Pingback: Gift for All Seasons , The Free Clinic of Capital City Rescue Mission | TalesAlongTheWay

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