In 1988, Vineyard Columbus launched Fruit of Vine Food Pantry at Fifth Avenue. Shortly thereafter, in February of 1994, two physicians launched Vineyard Columbus’ free health clinics at the Food Pantry. Then in 2002, the clinic moved into an adjacent building to the pantry, expanding its services to also include a dental clinic. Four years later, with the opening of Vineyard Community Center, a second location of the free health clinics was added. With two locations, the Free Health Clinic grew to include medical, dental, vision, and chiropractic services.
The Vineyard Free Health Clinics provide free care for patients who qualify, serving those 18 years and older who are uninsured or have Medicaid or Medicaid eligible incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
While the clinics’ opportunities to serve the community grew, Vineyard Columbus knew that to be effective it needed to explore partnerships with federally qualified health centers. Around 2013, Vineyard Columbus started a partnership with Lower Lights to provide medical services at the Fifth Avenue location. A few years later, the partnership was expanded to offer part-time and then full-time services at the Community Center in 2017.
Lower Lights Christian Health Center (LLCHC) is a faith-based, nonprofit community health center that ministers the love of Christ as a full-service medical home, focused on quality whole person wellness. A Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), LLCHC’s vision is to transform the overall health of Central Ohio, serving one individual and family at a time. All services – medical, vision, dental, counseling, and nutrition care. Because we believe that we are made up of three parts – body, mind, and soul – we also offer spiritual care for those who desire it. All of our services benefit everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. LLCHC accepts Medicaid and Medicare, as well as most private insurance plans. For those without insurance, payment is measured on a sliding-fee-scale based on income, with most patients paying $20.
Currently, LLCHC operates day-time medical services at the Fifth Avenue and Community Center locations with VCC Free Health Clinics operating at the Community Center location on selected evenings.
Throughout the pandemic and even while other local Free Health Clinics temporarily (and some permanently) closing their operations, Vineyard Community Center continued to provide services to 900 patients, served by nearly 70 volunteers clocking over 2000 hours of professional services. Similarly, Lower Lights Christian Health Center also continued to provide service after a temporary closure. In addition to resuming services, the two organizations worked together to host a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine distribution event.
On Saturday, February 27, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health and National Guard, LLCHC and Vineyard Columbus served more than 200 individuals the first dose of the vaccine. Several members of the refugee and immigrant communities were served during this event. Members of the Vineyard Columbus staff and congregation were on hand to provide translation and interpretation services to individuals whose primary languages were Spanish, TWI, Vietnamese, and more. Those individuals will be able to return to Vineyard Community Center for their second dose on Saturday, March 27 (details to come).
To learn more about what happened, check out the news story from NBC 4 News.