In 2019, 8 percent of Americans did not have health insurance at any point in the year, according to the United States Census Bureau. Without insurance, people in need of medical care may be subject to crippingly high payments, or avoid medical care altogether.
The Indianola Community Free Clinic hopes to help change that.
On Thursday, June 10, from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., the Indianola Community Free Clinic will open its doors for the first time to host a free COVID-19 vaccine clinic, in partnership with HyVee Pharmacy. The event is free and open to all, regardless of insurance status. Individuals are encouraged to wear a mask and bring a photo ID and insurance card, if applicable. The clinic is located on the east side of Indianola First Assembly of God Church on Highway 92 near the west edge of town.
Although the clinic is just opening, this endeavor has been more than a year in the making. Back then, Michelle Hunerdosse, Amira Seemann and Robyn Witte hadn’t connected. Little did they know, they all shared the same goal: to open a free clinic in Indianola.
“We all had kind of been independently looking for opportunity, praying about things, really trying to explore and lay some groundwork for trying to help make this happen,” Hunerdosse said.
After talking to Pastor Barry Hill from the Indianola First Assembly of God Church about potentially using space within the building as a clinic, Hunerdosse was connected to Seeman and Witte.
“The three of us got together and were able to get the ball rolling,” Hunerdosse said.
From there, the three women began organizing to make the clinic a reality. Hill enthusiastically agreed to provide space for the clinic. While Hunerdosse anticipated this would mean they would have access to a few Sunday school rooms, what they got was much more: the church completely revamped about an 800 square foot area specifically for the clinic.
Throughout the process, the clinic received support and resources from Free Clinics of Iowa. Free Clinics of Iowa is a network which supports more than 30 free clinics across the state. Their mission is to facilitate the initiation and operation of free clinics in Iowa in order to ensure every person receives access to basic healthcare services.
Hunerdosse believes this mission is one that has been exacerbated by the events of 2020.
“In the middle of the pandemic seems like an unlikely time to make a move like this, but I think that it really actually helped spark some passion in the community,” Hunerdosse said. “I think after the hardships from the pandemic, this may be a resource that a lot of people may need for right now.”
The COVID-19 vaccination clinic is just the beginning of the clinic’s efforts. The clinic will hold regular hours on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Services will include chronic disease management, diabetes and blood glucose testing minor illness or injury care and more.
In addition to these services, the Indianola Community Free Clinic hopes to continue hosting events to help in any way they can.
“We are really open to however we can serve the community,” Hunerdosse said. “I see us partnering with other health care providers and public health officials in our community, and we definitely want to be a resource for that.”
For individuals looking to support the Indianola Community Free Clinic, Hunerdosse believes spreading awareness can make a huge difference. Additionally, the clinic welcomes monetary donations, which can be made out in checks or to their Venmo account, @indianola_community_freeclinic.
So far, Hunerdosse has been amazed by the power of the Indianola community. Volunteers have stepped up to help complete flooring and installing cabinets in the clinic, and donations continue to pour in.
“Indianola is just that way,” Hunerdosse said. “They always step up to help their neighbor.”