LEIPSIC — Free health services for those who could not otherwise afford it, a hot meal and fellowship are offered the last Thursday of every month at Leipsic Community Center.
Donna Gallaway, Leipsic United Methodist Church member and volunteer, approached her church pastor in July 2012 about starting a free dinner for the community.
Through what Gallaway describes as “The Grace of God,” church members put the first meal together in July 2012 in 24 hours. There were 225 people served at the first meal at the Fogle Center that had power. The meals after that were served as the Leipsic United Methodist Church. The meal has grown to serve an average of 250 people and has served as many as 350 people,” according to Gallaway.
The meals moved to the Leipsic Community Center in Fall 2017. Leipsic United Methodist Church underwrites the cost of the food. Cooper Industries, Oakwood, Ohio, have donated large amounts of meat for the dinner. Members from seven Leipsic churches have volunteers who take turns with serving the meals and cleanup efforts as well as donating food.
“It’s more than just a meal. We try to make it a place where people can come and fellowship and meet their neighbors,” Gallaway said.
The meals and health clinic are offered to anyone who is in need, but mostly Putnam County residents attend.
A free community health clinic is offered the last Thursday of every month from 4 to 8 p.m. and the free hot meal is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. There is no residency requirements to attend the meal and clinic.
The clinic was started in May 2018 at the Leipsic Community Center.
Sherri Recker, Putnam County Health Department director of nursing, said the county is seeing less influenza, but the season has not ended yet.
“Ohio typically sees the most influenza disease in January to March. That has been the case in Putnam County as well, but we continue to see a limited amount of hospitalized diagnoses cases being reported,” Recker said.
She said prevention is the cornerstone of public health.
“Preventing chronic and acute illness saves individuals, families and the health care system money,” Recker said. She added that healthy behaviors contribute to both mental and physical well-being which helps people lead more productive lives.
Nancy Cain, Leipsic Community Center board of directors member, was instrumental in getting the clinic started at the community center.
“When the center was constructed a special place for the health clinic was built. We knew there were people in the area who could not afford healthcare,” Cain said.
The health clinic at Leipsic Community Center provides health services to uninsured or under insured people by Mercy Health physicians. Services include acute primary care, sports physicals and an on-site pharmacy is provided for those patients who have been scene by clinic physicians.
Miranda Wilson, Mercy Health LPN, helped out with the clinic for her second time Thursday night. She assisted with weighing people, taking their vitals, recording their medical history and prescribing medications as needed.
“We want to be able to reach everyone with healthcare, even those who don’t have the option to get it through insurance or can’t afford it,” Wilson said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.