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Project H.E.A.L. to open monticello site

Published in Media Releases Author: CentraCare

Monticello, Minn. – Beginning July 2, free health screenings, basic health services and free food will be offered the first Thursday of each month starting at 5 p.m. at Monticello High School, 5225 School Boulevard. Health care volunteers from CentraCare Health – Monticello will be on hand to answer health-related questions and provide basic health care services. In addition, Share Food Distribution of Monticello, sponsored by A Glorius Church, will provide a variety of free, healthy food options each month.

The idea for Project H.E.A.L. stemmed from Pastors Geary and Carol Jean Smith, who contacted St. Cloud Hospital in 1998 looking for help in providing free medical care to their clientele, many of whom are poor and homeless. The mission of Project H.E.A.L. is to help overcome barriers to health care for the under-served population of Central Minnesota. These barriers may include transportation, inadequate or lack of insurance, financial resources for co-payments and medications, treatment plan, language and culture.

The screening clinics treat a variety of health concerns from sore throats and head lice to burns and back injuries.

Place of Hope Drop-in Outreach Center, St. Cloud, became the first site of these free health screenings in 1999. As the word spread about the health screenings at Place of Hope, the need in the community became apparent. To reach more uninsured and under-insured people, Project H.E.A.L. has sites in St. Cloud, Cold Spring, Long Prairie, Melrose, Sauk Centre and now, Monticello.

Project H.E.A.L. is a success because of the vision of a handful of people and the dedication of its volunteers. Project H.E.A.L. is made up of more than 70 volunteers including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and lay people. The collaboration includes area churches, which provide the base of volunteers; community service sites like Place of Hope, Catholic Charities and Salvation Army, which provide space; generous donors and CentraCare Health, which helps provide funding to purchase supplies. It is a true collaboration of people coming together to fill an acute medical need.