In your own way and your own time, you will feel that you are a part of a Church that reaches out both in the community and in the world to those in need. ELUMC helps out in many projects including Justice for Our Neighbors, Revitalize Springfield, Convoy of Hope, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project International and Church World Service.
ELUMC was also the founder of the Pioneer Valley Free Health Service and until it's closing in August 2017, provided staff for this local weekly clinic.
With a purpose to provide free health services to patients with health care needs who lack medical insurance or who are under insured, behavioral and medical health care services as well as women's health services, PVFHS opened June 5, 1996 in the ELUMC Fellowship Hall. After 2 ½ years the PVFHS outgrew the space at the church. Dr. Robert Howe offered his offices, located at 281 Maple Street in East Longmeadow, free of charge. Because of his generosity PVFHS moved in late fall of 1998. PVFHS saw 11- 18 patients on Wednesday evenings from 6:15-8:15p.m. on a first come, first served basis.
It had an all volunteer staff (about 50 in all), consisting of Primary Care doctors, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, Psychiatrists and lay volunteers - most were regulars augmented by an able group of rotating medical interns.
Income was dependent on donations, grants, and fundraisers. Expenses include medical equipment and office supplies. Relationships with other medical agencies made possible low-cost or no-cost referrals to LifeLab at Mercy and Baystate Radiology and Imaging.
From June 5, 1996 to June 2017, there were approximately 17,000 patient visits, with 1249 visits in 2005/2006 and 350 in 2017. Patients were those without health insurance coverage, those who have coverage the government deems affordable but isn't, those who haven't been able to get into their providers, and those visiting from other countries seeking "American" healthcare. The census dropped after the Affordable Care Act was rolled out but there were still those who slipped through the cracks of affordable care or who didn't have ready access to care.
When Dr. Howe moved his practice and had to sell his building an exhaustive search for a new medical location yielded nothing acceptable and the decision was made to close. In October, Dr. Balder presented to Baystate Grand Rounds the story of the PVFHS, the lessons learned, the challenges faced, the things attempted and abandoned (like prescriptions and dental coverage), and all those people, providers, and companies who made it possible. A spirit of gratitude pervaded this adventure in providing free health care and together we celebrated all those who served and were served. In November 2017 at ELUMC's All Saints service, we lit a candle and grieved the passing of this important ministry.
Click on the projects below, to view any recent news and more about our involvement in the project.
Convoy of Hope returned to Springfield on August 15, 2015. Here's the "trailer" taken at the previous Convoy of Hope (2013) where ELUMC ran the Family Portraits tent.