Arkansas Churches Offer Free Health Clinic

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Several churches in an Arkansas community are banding together to help their neighbors. The churches operate a free health clinic.

"The worrying is over for people in Northwest Arkansas who can not afford medical care.

Eureka Christian Health Outreach or ECHO is a first-rate health clinic run by people who are putting their faith into action

Doctor Dan Bell says he started ECHO, because Jesus teaches his followers to give.

"To me, that's kind of powerful," Dr. Bell said. "Sort of this unsaid thing that 'at least I've got a place to go where I can get health care' versus this sort of hopeless feeling of 'What am i going to do? Who cares about me?"

Giving Their Free Time

Dr. Bell is a family practitioner by day. His wife Suzie, also has a job. They give their free time to the free clinic.

"We're supposed to help each other, and we're supposed to love each other," Suzie Bell said. "And to me, that's more important than having a perfectly clean house."

They can not do it alone, so they asked nearby churches for volunteers.

"I've never had anybody say no," Bell said.

What they got after their appeal were doctors, nurses, pharmacists, you name it, all willing to work for free.

"We're very blessed here," one volunteer said. "I think we have a lot of people here who want to help each other."

A Community Effort

The clinic itself is a donated church gymnasium.

"This is a community effort," said Faith Christian Church Pastor Gary Hayhurst. "We have people from all walks of life that make this work and that's why it works."

"Hundreds of communities across America are creating their own free health clinics. They treat a total of about 3.5 million people, who don't have insurance, according to the National Association of Free Clinics.

Not one cent of government money keeps them afloat. Everything is donated -- medicine, manpower, supplies, even hot meals.

And what's amazing is, you can't help but notice the smiles on the workers and the respect they give the patients.

"It's the most heart-warming feeling to feel the love when you walk in the door," said clinic patient Jim Swolley.

Living examples that is really is better to give than receive.

"I think any community no matter what size, has people that want to help other people," Dr. Bell said.

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CBN News
Lorie Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

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