Open Doors

(1)

IMG_2157

On June 3, the Care Center opened the doors to the new 60,000-square foot building that not only provides ample space for existing ministries to serve the needs of the community, but three brand new ministries as well—a dental and vision clinic, a children’s clothing store, and the Care Team, a team created to assist guests in navigating all available resources both at the Care Center and in the community.

The health clinic was designed to help the under-resourced receive adequate dental and eye care services. Each guest is required to undergo an eligibility screening, which includes review of their income and age, as well as verification that they earn at or below 150 percent of the poverty level and have no insurance. Under this program, each guest is able to receive dental and eye care for a minimal fee for up to a year, at which point they can reapply.

“Our guests, and the struggles they face with health challenges, were the inspiration to launch health services as part of our Care Center,” said Dave Cimo, Health Services Program Manager. “We learned so much as we spoke with our guests and learned of their challenges.”

According to a survey conducted by Willow Creek and given to Care Center guests in 2011, “42% did not see a doctor when they thought they should; 60% had not seen a dentist or had their eyes examined in the past two years; and more than 75% had no dental or eye care insurance.” After further investigation, Willow staff members discovered that there were not many dental and eye clinics available to serve under-resourced and uninsured individuals.

The new health services space features four dental rooms manned by volunteer dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists, and allows patients to receive a full exam, cleaning, and basic reconstructive work (fillings). The health services space also features a two-room eye clinic where full eye exams will be given and an area where patients can be fitted for glasses. Each dental and eye visit costs $20; frames will start at $25.

Further exploration of guest needs led to the creation of a children’s clothing store. For people struggling financially, buying new clothes is difficult, especially when continually having to purchase clothes for children who grow every year. Because of the new clothing store, parents and guardians will be able to visit the store twice a year, after passing an eligibility screening, to find new and gently used clothing for their children. At each visit, parents will select several clothing items for each child and will pay a flat fee of $5 per child.

Clothing donations are still needed to keep the store fully stocked. Donations can be brought to the new Care Center during regular hours of operation, or can be dropped off in the outdoor bins at any time. The bins are currently located between the D and F entrances of the church. All pajamas, undergarments, and socks must be new and all shoes must have laces intact.

The key to these two services and the implementation of holistic care and support for guests who often deal with numerous challenges, from feeding their family to unemployment, is the Care Team.

“The Care Team was created to provide a tangible expression of care and compassion for both those outside and inside the walls of Willow Creek Community Church,” said Thelma Talamantes, Care Team Program Manger.

The Care Team is available to meet with any guest during the Care Center’s open hours and only on the first and third Sunday of every month. If a guest requires additional support, a Care Pastor meets with them to ensure his or her spiritual needs are met.

“The ministry streamlines the process for anyone needing assistance in our church or community,” said Thelma. “There is a clear front door for help and one team involved in assessing people’s needs and connecting them to resources and ongoing care.”

While the Care Center was established to serve the needs of the community, it was also created to represent Jesus’ love and compassion towards all His children.

“I often read our Compassion and Justice mission statement that reads ‘Fighting poverty and injustice so that lives are transformed and Jesus is known,’ ” said Dave. “Our hope is that our Care Center will indeed be used to transform lives with the ultimate goal of Jesus being known.”

The Care Center depends on dedicated staff and volunteers, and volunteers are still needed to serve in each ministry area. Visit the Care Center website to learn more and sign up to volunteer. If you have additional questions, simply email carecenter@willowcreek.org for more information.

Category : Local Outreach

Comments

I am a volunteer at the Care Center, and it is an amazingly beautiful place for the under resourced to come for help.

Every aspect of this new center emits dignity to those coming for aid.

I am so fortunate to be a part of WCCC and their new Care Center. Praise God, and may God bless this ministry.

Post a comment