Faith Christian Reformed Church (Holland, Mich.) is a stone’s throw from Holland Hospital. But there’s another outpost of medical care on the Faith campus—the Holland Free Health Clinic. Started by Faith CRC, the clinic recently celebrated 10 years of serving those in need.
Holland Free Health Clinic executive director Jeff Compagner and dental patient coordinator Annie Ytterock
Susan Vanden Berg
Initially run out of a church storage closet, the clinic began by helping people with limited or no health insurance apply to drug companies for free prescription drugs. In its first year, volunteers helped 40 clients obtain $39,000 worth of medication.
A decade later, the clinic serves 700 to 1,000 individuals and provides over $1.5 million in services annually on an operating budget of $175,000. It now has its own nonprofit status.
In addition to helping people access prescribed medications, the clinic offers eye care, dental care, diabetes support, therapeutic massage, and foot care, all provided by volunteer health care professionals from the community. Legal services are also available.
Jim Boer, senior pastor at Faith, was instrumental in beginning the medical ministry. “Being located across from Holland Hospital and next to a couple of doctors’ offices, we heard the Spirit calling us to extend the healing ministry of Christ to our community,” he said.
Clients of the clinic include people who are disabled, homeless, or elderly, as well as the working poor, according to executive director Jeff Compagner. “Many have fallen between the cracks of other systems and have no place else to turn,” he said.
Sixteen local churches partner with the clinic, including several CRCs. Churches are “one of our largest funding sources each year, at times providing 25 to 30 percent of our operating funds,” said Compagner. “All clients are asked if they have a place of worship and are offered prayer support. . . . Each client is informed that we are a healing ministry and that this work is done to glorify the name of God.”
Boer reflected, “The fun part of this has been to just sit back and watch the ministry develop as prayerful people were led by the Spirit.”