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Volunteers help inner-city Ogden get free health services

By Mitch Shaw, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Feb 4, 2016
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Jorge Lemus, of Ogden, has his teeth cleaned by Chantel Stoddard, of Roy, and assisted by Chloe White, of Janesville, Cali., during a free health clinic organized by THRIVE at the Marshall White Center in Ogden on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

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Juan Arias, of Los Angeles, Cali., talks with Martin Ramos about nutrition and lifestyle choices during a free health clinic organized by THRIVE at the Marshall White Center in Ogden on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

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Josh James of THRIVE Complete Health, from Luck, Wisc., massages Justin Mello, who works with THRIVE for part of his Bible College training during a free health clinic organized by THRIVE at the Marshall White Center in Ogden on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

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A free clinic was held at the Marshall White Center in Ogden on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

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A free clinic was held at the Marshall White Center in Ogden on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

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A free clinic was held at the Marshall White Center in Ogden on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

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A free clinic was held at the Marshall White Center in Ogden on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

OGDEN — About 500 Ogden-area residents received free medical, dental and optometry services over the past two days at the Marshall White Center. 

The two-day health clinic was organized by THRIVE, a full-time volunteer organization run by college-aged members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Geared toward providing health services to low-income Ogden residents, the clinic featured volunteer physicians, dentists and optometrists, students from Weber State University’s dental hygiene program and students from the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College.

Volunteers from Ogden’s Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Community Vineyard and the Ogden Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church also helped. Ogden City teamed with the Marshall White Center to provide free space for the event.

“Our biggest focus is meeting this community’s real needs,” said Caren White, THRIVE event coordinator. “We could do things like help clean up houses and yards, but we figured these medical services are something that is a necessity.”

White said she and a small group of volunteers have been canvassing the Ogden area for a few months, trying to let residents know about the event and recruit volunteers.

“A lot of (organizing the event) was just getting out and visiting local businesses and organizations and just finding service-oriented people,” White said.

Dentists at the event offered free fillings, cleanings, extractions and x-rays. Optometrists gave patients eye exams and cataract screenings. Physician consultations, massages, lifestyle counseling and child care was also provided.

Spencer Wade, a dentist who practices in Roy, volunteered at the clinic on Thursday. Wade said one of his regular patients is a Seventh-day Adventist and told him about the clinic.

“You know, I’ve never pulled someone’s tooth while they were sitting in a lawn chair underneath some bad lighting, but we managed to make it work,” Wade said. “But this has been a great event. Some of the people who come in here are truly desperate. Some of them don’t have any insurance and something like this might really be there only option.”

Members of THRIVE have been in Ogden since September.

THRIVE director Westney White said in addition to preparing for this week’s event, the group has held smaller health expos and gone door-to-door to pass along information about healthy living.

The group plans to hold a similar event, but on a larger scale, next year in Las Vegas.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net or at 801-625-4233. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook.

 

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