Times staff report
The Spirit of Luke Ministry, a Birmingham-based non-profit clinic which provides healthcare services to underserved people in the Black Belt of Alabama, on Dec. 9 visited Vredenburgh, AL to offer clinic services and provide toys to kids.
The Spirit of Luke Ministry sponsors A Promise To Help (APTH), which is a healthcare initiative/mission directed to the Black Belt region. It is a volunteer base organization whose goals are to assist in eliminating healthcare disparities in the underserved, underprivileged, and underinsured populations of the Black Belt.
APTH was conceived in 2003 by Dr. Sandra Ford and her husband Henry. Once a month, on the first Saturday, Dr. Ford leads a team of volunteer doctors, nurses, ministers, healthcare professionals, media specialists, counselors, social workers, business leaders, skilled laborers, community activist and lover of mankind on a mission to work toward accomplishing the goals of APTH.
APTH, aided by mobile medical van, sets up a mobile hospital on each mission and the members of the community can come and get a free medical exam, eye exam, dental exam, blood work, free medicine, free clothing, free food, a spiritual nugget and prayer.
Volunteers include the UAB Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) Pre-Health Honor Society. The students are all undergrads at the University of Alabama at Birmingham which traditionally has a few medical students who participate. The event rotates through different cities in the Black Belt the second Saturday of every month.
AED also has an annual gift wrapping party where they ask for $7 gift donations from students all over UAB’s campus. They also provide incentives for organizations to get their members to donate by providing gift cards to the group that donates the most.
Kayla Hazelwood, UAB AED President, said, “I think it is important that little girls in this underserved area see that they can certainly become doctors too.”
Students say expectations play a big role in the “ceiling” that people can hit in life and they believe residents in the Black belt to be healthy and believe the children can grow to have fulfilling careers.
Over the past seven years APTH has had more than 4,000 volunteers participate, examined and treated over 3,500 patients, served nearly 11,000 plates of food, given away over 7,000 bags of clothes, given out 1,900 gifts at Christmas to kids, passed out 1,235 book bag at our annual back to school rally and witness 1,572 men, women and children give their life to Christ.