By the end of the day June 18th, Convoy of Hope reports more than 1,800 volunteers from 300 churches and organizations had come together to distribute 18,000 bags of groceries, give nearly 500 haircuts, take more than 400 family portraits, conduct 140 dental screenings and distribute 1,200 pairs of shoes to families in need. On top of all of that, 120 people had interviews scheduled with businesses participating in the job fair portion of the outreach event.
FMH is proud to have played a role in this day of service. Maria-Teresa Shuck with FMH Interpreting Services walks us through the day from her perspective:
I would like to commend the organizers of Convoy of Hope for their generous contribution of time, talent and gifts for the community of Frederick, this past June 18.
Convoy of Hope is a Christian faith-based program with a mission of conducting community outreach, fulfilling both physical and spiritual needs.
It was a muggy Saturday, but thankfully the rain held off. The crowds began to pour in at 9:00 a.m. as planned. The volunteers in their gray “Hope” t-shirts were in position, anticipating the wave of people. I quickly noticed familiar faces in FMH burgundy t-shirts inside the healthcare tent.
I immediately felt at ease being there. Other FMH staff were busy setting up their areas. At first glance I saw the triage team, then the doctors, members of Tx:Team (rehabilitation services), care coordinators, experts on diabetes and mental health and a whole host of nurses.
As I stood at the entrance of our tent I watched and acknowledged patients as they approached. People seeking medical advice came in all shapes and sizes, socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities and every other diverse representation possible. Some were speaking languages I recognized, and others I did not.
FMH interpreters Gloria, Rosario, Elisa, Daniela and I assisted our Spanish speaking guests. JoAnn, our ASL interpreter, was on the lookout for deaf folks. Interpreters were easy to spot; we wore sashes denoting the languages we served.
Elizabeth Chung, Director of Life and Discovery, did an excellent job providing interpreters for various Asian languages. Our tent had a fair amount of Asian patients, including Vietnamese, Burmese, Chinese, and Hindi.
Hugs were plentiful for us Spanish interpreters, since many of the Hispanic patients that day have been assisted by FMH interpreters in the past and were known to us. They continue to show their appreciation for making their healthcare understandable. Many came to check their blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Others came in with ailments like abdominal pain, headaches, high blood pressure and eyesight issues. After consulting with the physicians, most were referred to see specialists in the community in order to receive follow up care. The guests I assisted nodded politely and thanked the doctors upon stepping out from behind the curtain.
My immediate thought was that many of these folks were uninsured and would probably not be seen any time soon by anyone. I suspect that most people that took the time to visit our tent probably did not have a primary doctor or the resources to seek further medical attention for their ailment in the first place.
I was, however, pleased to see some of the FMH handouts were in Spanish, especially the high blood pressure and the cardiovascular risk information.
All of us were busy. It was hot under the tent, but I truly believe that we were all proud to be there on a Saturday representing FMH in this wonderful community outreach event.
Outside the healthcare tent were other service areas. There was Dottie, RN in the First Aid area, a shoe distribution area, a prayer/reflection tent, a dental care tent, HIV testing area, a portrait studio, hair cutting, children’s activity area, live music, and of course, a food tent offering hot dogs and chicken to the crowds and volunteers.
The Community Services area was packed with community partners like Centro Hispano, Mental Health Association, WIC, Health Department, Department of Social Services, Heartly House, Frederick City Police, Way Station, Families Plus!, Priority Partners, CareNet, Maryland Veterans, Interfaith Housing, etc.
All in all it was a good day. People strolled along the fairgrounds with their families, all carrying brightly colored tote bags filled with the usual trinkets, novelty pens and pencils, note pads, band aid kits, t-shirts, caps, highlighters, water bottles and pamphlets filled with resource information.
As people left for the day, Convoy of Hope volunteers handed out bags of groceries filled with cereal, cans of soup, and such. By 2:00 p.m. our interpreting team was exhausted, but happy to have served, and satisfied that we all had done what we do best: ensure that communication between providers and patients was performed efficiently and correctly, to the best of our abilities.
Way to go FMH!