Mercy and Truth Medical Missions, a safety net clinic with locations in Wyandotte and Johnson County, Kansas, hosted an event the Saturday before Thanksgiving, November 17, 2018 called Warm up Wyandotte.
The event lasted under an hour and a half due to an overwhelming demand for the items that were offered for free. Thanks to sponsorships and donations, we were able to give away approximately 400 coats, 200 turkeys, and 150 flu vaccinations to our community members.
As Dr. Alex Kieu, the medical director, said, “It looked like Black Friday outside our building with the lines of people!” The event was slated to start at 8 a.m., but lines started forming outside the Mercy and Truth clinic at 7 a.m. in anticipation of receiving the items.
In planning this event, we wanted to make sure that Wyandotte County stayed healthy by providing flu shots and that our neighbors will be a little warmer this winter with a coat. Our clinic has so many things to be thankful for, and we hope that a turkey would help many families have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
The Mayor of the Unified Government David Alvey helped promote the event by coming to the Mercy and Truth KCK location prior to the event and getting his flu shot. He encouraged other residents to also stay healthy and come to the event.
“The Mayor’s encouragement and his support helped to kick start our event,” said Executive Director Geofrey Kigenyi. “And he didn’t even flinch when our medical assistant gave him his shot!”
While the lines were forming outside, and before attendees went inside to get a flu shot and look for a coat, we handed out a short survey. Over 80 percent of the survey respondents said that they came to Warm Up Wyandotte for a turkey and/or a coat.
Of those in attendance who responded to the survey, 41 percent said they did not have a medical home and over 32 percent had not seen a doctor in 2018. Survey respondents were asked to write in why they had not seen a doctor, and the number one reason was that they did not have insurance or Medicaid.
Because of these responses, and because of the uninsured population that Mercy and Truth Medical Missions serves, our staff and board will once again be journeying to Topeka to advocate for Medicaid expansion in Kansas.
This event was held in Kansas City, Kansas, but Mercy and Truth also operates a clinic in Shawnee, Kansas. Using donations from Health Forward and other organizations, along with Community Service Tax Credits, we have moved into a new and expanded clinic space in September, and are still raising funds for this expansion, which will dramatically increase the number of patients we will be able to treat.
By Anne F. Rauth, MBA on December 7, 2018
Marketing and Development Director
Mercy and Truth Medical Missions