Free health screenings may not seem like a big deal to most folks, but to Jeffrey Barras it meant the world.
“It doesn’t hurt to get help, but some of us are just down, you know? And they gave us a hand up,” said Barras, who was wiping away tears.
He stopped by the Southwest Louisiana Primary Health Care Center’s motor home to see a doctor today.
“It gives us hope. It helps us keep faith. We’re not bad people. We just need a leg up,” he said.
Dodie Lamott, the agency’s Chief Executive Director, said that’s what their mission is.
“We’re a community health center. We’re out here to provide preventative medical care to the homeless population,” she said. “We want to let them know they’re not left behind. We’re here today to provide excellent care for them, and to help them see there is a safe place for them to seek health care.”
Lamott said people who don’t have insurance can feel left behind.
“We’re here to be able to help them meet their health care needs,” she said. “We want to make them feel a little more comfortable, and to let them know that someone does care about them.”
The Rev. Lawrence Levy III is a pastor with Freedom World Ministries who works a great deal with the homeless in Acadiana. He’s also a member of the health center’s board of directors, and always a voice for the homeless in that role, Lamott said.
Levy said that, in addition to the screenings, there were some items provided to the patients to meet other needs.
“Not all of them are fortunate enough to have jobs,” Levy said.
Levy said it’s not just about screenings and stuff, though.
“We want to let them know that they are somebody,” he said. “Despite their situation, someone loves them, somebody cares.”
Levy said it’s important to build up people who are down.
“We need to see what we can do to put it in their minds that, “Hey, I can get up, try again, take another chance at life.” Southwest Louisiana Primary Health Care is one of the greatest non-profit organizations I’ve connected to,” he said.
For more information on the center, click here.