The two Families First medical vans, nicknamed Jennie and Marge, are both in the store, forcing healthcare providers to serve customers in local parking lots.
When functioning properly, the colorful vans are seen all over the coast region, traveling to various locations to serve the customers of the Community health of the Grand Littoral and Families first organization. Vans bring health services to shelters, soup kitchens, community organizations and provide a mobile ‘office’ where doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, care coordinators and counselors provide services to those in need. .
The vans also carry donations of various items such as blankets, clothing, gift cards, food and snacks. When they have items like tents, toiletries, sneakers, boots, sleeping bags, winter clothes and reading glasses, they will also give them to customers. Donations are always needed.
On Thursdays, people normally find the health care van outside St. John’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, as the soup kitchen called Common Table always starts at noon. This Thursday the van was not in the parking lot but the attentive health staff was.
Possibility of donation:Portsmouth Women’s City Club to host Coat Drive this weekend
Sally Naredla, Clinical Coordinator, Lynne DeAmelio-Rafferty, Mobile Health Care Coordinator, and Kathleen Rafferty, Homeless Outreach Specialist for the Community Action Program worked on a folding table with camp chairs shaded by a small tree in the corner of the land. They used their phones and laptops, connecting clients to needed services.
There were blood pressure checks, flu shots, listening and help as the temperature in the parking lot approached 80 degrees.
âIt certainly makes it more difficult for us, but it is important for us to provide medical and social services and to have continuity for our clients so that they always know where to find us,â said Naredla. âWe have to stay consistent. “
DeAmelio-Rafferty laughed as he reflected on his job in a Rochester parking lot.
âI got sunburned yesterday, but hey, no worries! “
In a recent article in the Mass General Hospital Institute of Health Professionals magazine, Naredla said, âToday I really feel like I have found my calling. We connect patients with mental health resources, addiction treatment and dental care, as well as community service organizations in the area who may be able to help our patients get back on their feet. .
âIt is so inspiring to collaborate with other community service oriented professionals who share my calling and desire to serve those in greatest need. Armed with the experience, I find myself every day looking at my patients and colleagues and saying once again: these are my people. “
Families First’s non-profit organization depends on donations to survive.