By Lauren Deal
Macon Community News
On Saturday, May 11, 2019, Nurse Practitioner Jaimi Norrell will gather at Central City Park in Macon with other volunteers from the Hands of Grace Medical Clinic in Warner Robins to provide healing to Macon’s homeless population.
Volunteers will be at the park from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM providing medical screenings, prayer, fellowship, reflexology, and essential items such as clothing (including socks and underwear), flip flops, lip balm, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
“I feel there are many people who can’t get to us,” Jaimi explains, “so we said we will go to them!”
Jaimi’s husband, Kevin Norrell, first suggested to her that the clinic begin a homeless outreach in Macon.
“We were at Loaves and Fishes,” Kevin recalls, “and no one was there. The people who work at Loaves and Fishes took me and showed me the places where homeless people gather, and we invited everyone to come back to Loaves and Fishes for medical screenings and fellowship. About 20 people came and got screened and loved on.” Kevin learned just how large Macon’s homeless population is.
After their initial experiences in homeless ministry, Kevin and Jaimi felt that it was especially important that the medical outreach include the homeless. Homeless people experience the same medical problems as everyone else, but they can become invisible among us. When a Macon pastor invited Jaimi and her crew to participate in their homeless ministry at Central City Park in March, she leaped into the opportunity.
“There were around 100 homeless people, and around 40 came to see us,” she recalls. “It’s just amazing—I feel like God wants us to get outside of the walls of the clinic.”
“I really envision our clinic being mobile at least one day a month to go to where people, like the homeless, will feel cared for,” Jaimi continues, “and we have the resources if someone needs to be treated medically.”
Hands of Grace Free Medical Clinic opened on October 7, 2017, at Abundant Grace Church, which is located at 1861 Watson Boulevard in Warner Robins. The clinic is open on the first and third Saturday of every month from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM to provide free, quality medical care to anyone from the age of 6 months old and up. Appointments are not necessary because clinic services are provided on a first come, first served basis. However, appiontments are required for women’s health, mental health, and reflexology services. Those may be requested at www.handsofgracemedical.com.
According to their website, handsofgracemedical.com, the clinic treats “non-life threatening, time-sensitive conditions such as rashes, scrapes, eye irritation, cough, cold, congestion, sore throat, and frequent or painful urination.”
The clinic also monitors and treats chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypothyroidism, and by special appointment, they provide psychological and women’s health care. Hands of Grace Free Medical Clinic does not provide or prescribe narcotic pain medications; however, through generous donations, they can provide some non-narcotic medications for the treatment and management of the conditions they treat.
The only requirement to qualify for their free medical services is to be uninsured.
Jaimi has 20 years of experience in the medical field. The wife and mother of six works in a medical office in Jackson, Georgia. Before starting Hands of Grace Free Medical Clinic at Abundant Grace Church, she and her husband were members of the congregation, and she felt led to help the people around her.
“It had really been heavy on my heart that I knew people were praying about their medical problems and praying for someone to help them,” Jaimi says. “I approached the senior pastor and asked him ‘how would you feel if I opened a free medical clinic to help those that are uninsured?’
“My vision was to have people be treated both physically and spiritually,” she continues. “I always want people to feel like they can come for medical conditions but know we will pray with them too if they would like.”
Abundant Grace Church is led by Senior Pastor Tim Gray and his son, Lead Pastor Daron Gray. When Jaimi approached them, both pastors were receptive to the idea of a free medical clinic in their church, and they worked with Jaimi and other volunteers to make her vision a reality.
“We started with them building two rooms, and now we have six,” Jaimi says. Since opening, the clinic has operated 34 days (first and third Saturdays) and provided services to over 320 people who otherwise would not have had access to medical care.
Abundant Grace Church created a space that is beautiful, comfortable, and professional for the clinic. Colorful floral paintings and landscape art hang on the walls. In the reflexology room, plump pillows, soft music, and aromatic oils welcome patients. The clinic looks like any other medical office.
For Jaimi and other members of the congregation, seeing the clinic in action has been life-changing. The clinic was built 100% from donations from members of the church and the community.
“The atmosphere of the clinic is amazing,” Jaimi says. “I believe that God has sent me volunteers from all over, from different churches, to show that doing His work is what He wants everyone to do….He has opened doors and provided for things when there seemed to be no way.”
Around 20 different people, both medical professionals, and laymen, volunteer for the clinic. A nurse-midwife comes in to provide women’s health services, while a mental health professional provides therapy and a reflexologist provides reflexology services, in addition to the medical clinic’s other health services.
“I’ve had all of our exam tables (6) donated, office equipment, samples that doctors may have an abundance of, chairs for waiting room, shelves, nebulizer machines, dressing supplies, and bandaids, to name a few,” Jaimi says.
The clinic sends patients to the Houston County Medical Center to get necessary labs drawn, and the hospital has an indigent care program that allows individuals without insurance to get the work done for free. Professionals at the clinic monitor the outcomes to help them make decisions for patient care.
Although Jaimi says it’s still hit and miss, the clinic has been fortunate to have a few drug reps drop off samples of medications when they had extra.
She is hoping to obtain grant money to help pay for the medical tests and supplies that are hard to find for free. Volunteers are also willing to collect any supplies available for donation. What Jaimi needs most of all, though, is awareness.
“We just want to get the word out that we are here,” she emphasizes, “we are like seeing a regular provider’s office with a warm, caring environment. We see anyone uninsured in Georgia, and if there are other areas that we can go to help the homeless, please contact us through the webpage, handsofgracemedical.com.”
For more information, including information about services available, clinic dates and times, and location, please visit their website at www.handsofgracemedical.com.
Hands of Grace Free Medical Clinic is located at Abundant Grace Church, at 1861 Watson Boulevard in Warner Robins, Georgia.