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Meeting Needs

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2004 alumna found her calling to help the needy through Grace Clinics of Ohio.

When he walked into the Delaware office of the Grace Clinics of Ohio, Inc., “Roger” (not his real name) couldn’t afford to buy a can of pop. By the time he left, he felt like a rich man.

“Roger told me he had 75 cents to his name,” said Amanda (Hotz) Haines (WC ’04), who serves as the lead nurse for the Grace Clinics of Ohio. “He was homeless, living on the streets of Delaware. He was a diabetic and could not get the medication he needed or see a doctor.

“He was blown away by all the things we helped him with. It brought him to tears. He could not believe somebody he met that day would care so much about him.”

The Delaware clinic met the man’s medical, spiritual, and physical needs. Members of a local Bible study provided the man with a hot meal. The doctor on call wrote prescriptions for everything Roger needed to treat his diabetes. The clinic’s onsite pharmacy then provided hundreds of dollars of medicine so Roger could treat his illness.

While Roger was being treated, he confided to the staff he had a job interview in two days but had no place to sleep until then.

 “It was pouring down rain and cold when Roger left the clinic,” Haines said. “The doctor felt so guilty he was returning to his warm house, and this guy didn’t have a place to stay.

“He drove around the city of Delaware until he found him and put him up in a hotel for a couple of days.”

Haines said stories like that make it easy to go to work daily. This December, the Ohio Department of Health and the Charitable Healthcare Network selected The Grace Clinics of Ohio as the 2023 Free Clinic of the Year.

“Everyone at the clinic is a volunteer, and everyone wants to be here,” said Haines, who graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in nursing in 2009. “Many have their own practices but volunteer to work here once or twice weekly.

“It’s really awesome to work in a place that allows us to give back to the people in the community. We can meet them where they’re at and care for them. While doing that, we get to share the good news of Jesus. It truly fills our cup daily, and our patients are so thankful the clinic is there.”

This is the second go-a-round with the Grace Clinic for Haines, who lives in Lewis Center with her husband Kris and their three children, Abigail (WC ’30), Karter (WC ’32), and Kolton (WC ’36).

In 2006, her twin uncles, Dr. Kent Doherty, and Dr. Kevin Doherty, with a helping hand from the Grace Powell Church, formed the Grace Clinic in Delaware to meet a need in the community for “people who couldn’t afford their deductibles or who had medical needs but lacked health insurance.”

“We take care of anybody who walks through our doors, no questions asked,” she said. “We remove all the barriers so people could show up and get any sort of medical care they needed, completely free. The entire mission of Grace Clinic is to lead people to Christ by offering them free medical care. That’s the whole reason we’re doing what we’re doing.”

In 2018, Haines stepped away from working full-time at the clinic to raise her family. During that time, Haines’s maternal grandmother, Sharon Doherty, became ill, and she served as her hospice nurse.

“My grandmother was the rock of our family,” she said. “I feel fortunate I could care for her every day until her final minutes. I told my mom and my uncles if the only reason I went to nursing school was to be able to care for my grandma, it would have all been worth it.”

However, with her children all in school, Haines returned to the clinic last May. The clinic has expanded to five campuses in her absence, including Marion, Jackson County, and Hilliard. Last year, the clinics served over 1,447 patients and provided over 1,900 visits in their five locations.

As the lead nurse, Haines said her job is threefold: making sure all five clinics have the materials they need to take care of patients, tracking and documenting all the services the clinic provides so the clinic continues to receive funding and donations, and patient care.

“God has continued to bless the clinic and bring patients through the doors,” Haines said.

The nurse said she remembers her first exposure to the plight of the poor was when she was in elementary school and a man she assumed was homeless began attending her church. But Worthington Christian’s trip to the Dominican Republic exposed Haines to the depth of poverty.

“That trip really impacted me,” Haines said. “You hear about people living like that, but to see it first-hand was something else.”

It is easy to pigeonhole poverty as a third-world problem, but Haines remembers walking by the homeless on her way to classes at Ohio State.

“When I was working in the hospital, I can remember people breaking into the supply cabinets to steal food while we were treating their family members,” Haines said. “Worthington Christian prepared our hearts to be open to what God has planned for our lives and how God is going to use us, but also to open our hearts to have compassion, meet people where they’re at, and serve them.”

“People are always hurting. There’s always pain; there’s always sin. Whether it be through financial situations or their health, people are experiencing dark times and feelings of hopelessness. God calls us to look for those people so we may help them, take them under our wing, and show them Jesus.”

If one patient has taught Haines this, it was “Roger.” Months after he came to the clinic for help, Roger returned with a plate of cookies.

“He just thanked us from the bottom of his heart,” Haines said. “He said, ‘I’m not really sure what I would have done because I was getting very ill without some of my medications. Essentially, you saved my life.’”

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