Today, Heal the City Free Clinic opened its doors with the help of several community partners to help hundreds of kids prepare for back to school, making sure they are healthy and have plenty of supplies at no cost.
Heal the City (HTC) provided a one-stop shop for back to school, providing free immunizations, physicals, and school supplies, working in conjunction with Give More HUGS, Potter Randall County Medical Alliance, Story Bridge and local hair salons.
“There was long lines kind of all the way out to 6th Street when we got here this morning, so we’ve been overwhelmed with the response but also with the response of the community volunteering and pouring into this and making sure the kids are getting what they need,” said Dr. Alan Keister, Heal the City Founder. “So, it’s been really great.”
In addition to required medical care, volunteers handed out backpacks, books, and food.
“The community needs an event like this to help these kids and these families get what they need to get back to school,” said Dr. Shari Medford, Pediatrician and HTC Board Member. “I can’t imagine how many kids have been through here today. I know we’ve given out almost 400 backpacks and I can’t imagine how many kids have gotten immunizations, but it’s just a blessing to help people to get these prepared and ready for school.”
What would back to school be without a fresh haircut?
“When they stand up out of the chair, there’s this pride that comes out of them,” said Christy Smith, a hair stylist. “One little boy, he looked in the mirror and was like, “Oh, I’m so fresh!” So, I know that when you look good, you feel good and it gives them a better opportunity to feel like they belong when they’re going back to school.”
Dr. Keister said the clinic is part of HTC’s mission to create a culture of love.
“We aim to have everybody leave with a smile on their face even if they may have a shot in their arm, …knowing they’ve been cared for in a way that gives them dignity and respect,” said Dr. Keister.
While HTC typically provides health care for the uninsured or underinsured, the back to school immunization event is open to everyone each year.
Dr. Keister said because of the clinic, more students have been able to start school on the first day of classes with all of their required shots.