Volunteer with Shepherd’s Hope: Caring People, Caring for People

It started with a walk on a south Florida beach. In the summer of 1996, Dr. William S. Barnes, then pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Windermere, had a calling. That calling let him to create Shepherd’s Hope, a facility operated primarily by volunteers. Shepherd’s Hope provides uninsured individuals and families free access to healthcare.

Patients eligible for services through Shepherd’s Hope have income at or below 200% of the poverty level, are uninsured and are not eligible for other government-assisted health care programs. Today, Shepherd’s Hope operates five medical health centers in Orange and Seminole Counties.

Shepherd’s Hope relies on strong partnerships within the local community to ensure its services reach those most in need. Each Health Center is the result of a partnership between a faith, school or facility partner, specialty providers and hospitals. Volunteer physicians, nurses, other licensed health care professionals and general volunteers provide quality healthcare to men, women, and children who would otherwise go without the care they need. 

Continued Care During COVID-19.

When the Covid-19 pandemic changed our lives, Health care needs and obstacles to that care increased.  Thanks to the CARES Grant, Shepherd’s Hope was able to purchase two virtual Teledoc systems which continued their ability to “see” patients. The Teledoc systems not only allowed Shepherd’s Hope to see patients in a safe, virtual environment, but also connected each of the health centers reducing the amount of travel required by patients. Especially important to patients of Shepherd’s Hope Liver Clinic,  the virtual system allows patients that are weak or susceptible to infection to continue critical doctor visits without compromising their health. 

For Shepherd’s Hope, volunteers are the foundation of compassionate care. Physicians, nurses, and licensed health care providers have continued to donate their time and talent to those in need.  Their non-clinical, general volunteers also continued to reach out and ask how they can assist with administrative tasks in the clinics.  However, as the pandemic has lingered on, Shepherd’s Hope still is in need r of new volunteers to replace those that have stepped back due to sickness or job changes. 

During the pandemic, Shepherd’s Hope also started construction on the HEAL Kitchen  (–Healthy Eating Active Lifestyle) at their Winter Garden location. It is due to open in April of this year.

Thanks to the partnership with St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, the HEAL Kitchen will be a place to promote positive lifestyle changes for residents.  It will provide residents with access to food as a prescription; heart, diabetes, and obesity interventions; and educational cooking, nutrition and lifestyle classes and programs. The Grow It Forward Micro-Farm on the property is overflowing with tomatoes, green beans, and herbs. Weekly volunteers tend the garden and harvest the crops.  The fresh produce is given to the patients to take home and enjoy. Cooking and nutrition classes have already begun for some of the youth in the Winter Garden area. Adult classes will begin later in this year. 

Partnering with Shepherd’s Hope, the West Orange Health District (WOHD) is committed to creating a better health environment. Because of the mission of Shepherd’s Hope and the outstanding service they are providing to the residents in central Florida, the WOHD provided a $3 million endowment for the facility located in Winter Garden. This new facility, which opened in 2020, serves at the administrative offices and the Winter Garden Health Clinic. This full-service health clinic offers health care to local children and adults most evenings during the week. 

Join Shepherd’s Hope in Their Mission

Whether you are a medical professional interested in donating your services, a community member wishing to volunteer at a facility or an event, or a resident who would like to support this amazing mission with a monetary gift, Shepherd’s Hope needs your help.  Clinical volunteers receive Sovereign Immunity. Physical donation needs include everything from medical grade masks, tri-fold paper towels, non-latex gloves, bottled water and individually packed snacks for patients waiting to be treated. Monetary donations for patient care are also a huge need. Shepherd’s Hope is able to treat our neighbors in need at only a fraction of the cost of traditional public and private healthcare.

For more information about volunteer opportunities and donations, please visit the Shepherd’s Hope website.  www.shepherdshope.com

Shepherd’s Hope by the numbers:

Over 310,000 free medical visits and patient services since first opening in 1997

$17 Million in 2021 in healthcare services delivered in 2021 through community partnerships

Shepherd’s Hope has five neighborhood health centers

Total # Volunteers in 2021: 2,684

Total # of Volunteer Hours in 2021: 23,110

Mark Your Calendar!

Call to Hope Breakfast

Learn more about how Shepherd’s Hope serves our neighbors in the community.

When:  April 22, 2022

Where: Doubletree Downtown Orlando

Time: 7:45AM – 9:30AM

For more information, please contact sharon.couture@shepherdshope.org

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Written by Staff Writer

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