Guest Columnist

His Hands: With health care comes hope for a better life

The Gazette asked Eastern Iowa nonprofit leaders to write about the changing needs of our community in 2020

Staff members stock the medicine room at the new His Hands Free Clinic on Second Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids on Wed
Staff members stock the medicine room at the new His Hands Free Clinic on Second Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

‘As long as you have your health ...’

For some reason I grew up hearing this statement a lot. Who knew I would grow up and lead a free clinic? Now I have seen so many people over the years who did not have their health.

Recently Marie, a patient at His Hands, told our staff, “Without His Hands, I wouldn’t have the hope.” I wish I could say Marie was the only person that has said this but so many patients this year have been discouraged and hopeless. Years ago, I never would have dreamed that a free clinic could be a beacon of hope, but I have seen how receiving medication, counseling and answers to what is causing pain provides hope — enough hope to give people a reason to keep on going. Hope is life-changing when you feel better and you can start providing for your family again.

His Hands has been serving the community for 28 years. When we started, our hope was to provide the gift of health to those without the resources to afford doctor visits. We have now expanded to serving over 1,000 people a year in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding areas. We have grown from one service to offering free medical, dental, chiropractic, women’s health, physical therapy, durable medical equipment, spiritual care, prescription assistance, casework services and off-site optical. One thing that has stayed the same is the fact that we serve all people, regardless of their faith.

I know that our clinic is not the only nonprofit that had to cancel fundraising events. I know we have all been challenged to think outside the box and come up with creative alternatives. We are all in this together and I know that people volunteer and help when they can. Financial gifts are always needed and becoming a monthly donor helps immensely. Donating the gift of yourself through volunteering is equally important for His Hands and other organizations that operate with skeleton staffs.

There are many ways that people can support His Hands and other community nonprofits this year. Please check out our website at hishandsclinic.org. The clinic has many options, medical and non-medical. Don’t see what you are looking for? Contact Kim, our volunteer coordinator, at Kim@HisHandsClinic.org. She will help you put your talent and passion to work.

Christmas is the season where we hear about Jesus Christ coming as a baby to bring hope. However, Jesus is not just an infant in a manger. He has come to bring us life and life abundantly (John 10:10). My wish for you in 2021 is that you will experience this abundant life, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Along with her expression of hope, Marie shared, “His Hands is the place to go. Whether it is a spiritual need or a health need, they are a guiding light to help you through.” Please consider the gift of hope and health this Christmas.

Dawn Brouwers, LMSW, is executive director of His Hands.

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