Hundreds of healthcare professionals are gearing up to provide more than $10 million in free medical and dental services as part of a Seventh-day Adventist initiative in San Antonio, Texas, next month.
The April 8-10 event at the Alamodome stadium will be one of the Adventist Church’s biggest outreach projects of 2015 and seeks to introduce local residents to the church ahead of the General Conference session, a major church business meeting that will be held in the stadium in July.
More than 1,500 healthcare professionals and other volunteers will operate the no-cost medical and dental clinic, offering general surgery, women’s health services including pap smears, pediatrics, immunizations, root canals, crowns, fillings, pharmacy, eyeglass fittings and examinations, screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, medical massage, physical therapy, x-rays, haircuts, chaplaincy services, and a free meal.
“Services will be offered on a first come, first served basis,” the North American Division, which is co-organizing the event, said in a statement. “No insurance and no identification are required.”
No appointment is needed except for surgical procedures, which require a pre-surgery visit. Surgical patients should call 1-888-44-Pathway (1-888-447-2849) to register for free surgery.
The free clinic is the brainchild of Lela Lewis, an obstetrician and gynecologist who heads Your Best Pathway to Health, a service of Adventist-Laymen’s Services & Industries, or ASI. Lewis spearheaded an inaugural free clinic in April 2014 that saw such high demand in Oakland and San Francisco, that volunteers had to turn away some people. In the end, nearly 3,000 people received $5.2 million worth of free treatment during the three-day event in the two California cities.
The California and Texas events are part of a “Mission to the Cities” effort led by Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson in which Adventists share Jesus in big cities through programs that meet the physical and spiritual needs of residents.
The San Antonio event is expected to be at least twice as large at the one in California. The San Antonio mayor’s office, which is donating the use of the stadium at no cost, has asked organizers to treat 5,000 to 6,000 people.
The expected turnout of more than 1,500 volunteers has surpassed organizers’ expectations. Lewis told the Adventist Review when she started reaching out to volunteers in July 2014 that she hoped to sign up 1,200 to 1,500 people.
Other San Antonio co-organizers include the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Adventist Health System, a Florida-based health care provider that operates 45 hospitals in 10 states.
The day after the free clinic ends, April 11, the organizers will host a special tribute program honoring San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and other local leaders. The 3:30 p.m. event will take place in the city’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
San Antonio residents can obtain more information at YourBestPathwayToHealth.org or by calling 1-888-44-Pathway (1-888-447-2849).