PORTLAND, OR (August 29, 2012) – Members of St. Johns Covenant Church were among volunteers from area congregations who recently participated in the first Compassion North Portland event, during which more than 400 people received free medical, dental, and vision care.
Services were provided at a local high school and nearby dental clinics. Roughly 350 volunteers from 25 churches worked at the outreach.
Long lines of people waited for appointments in sweltering heat that rose above 100 degrees. The event began at 9:00 a.m., but some residents had been waiting since 3:30 to receive basic dental exams, tooth extractions, eye exams, routine physicals, and even haircuts.
Six vans transported guests to off-site dental appointments.
Before and after their appointments, guests could browse through 41 booths staffed by workers from social service agencies. Twenty translators assisted throughout the day.
After their appointments, guests filled out forms and went through exit interviews. Organizers will distribute names of willing guests to churches and other groups for follow-up.
Compassion North Portland also heightened awareness among volunteers about the need for services in their area.
“As I go about my day walking to the grocery store and hanging out at the park with my boys, I find myself keeping an eye out for these new neighbors,” said Stephanie VanRheen, a member of St. Johns. “Their lives are no longer invisible and their pain, both physical and otherwise, is suddenly on my mind.”