HIGHLAND PARK, MI — For more than two hours Saturday (Sept. 16), the parking lot just outside the doors of the S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic was transformed into a vibrant gathering spot for the community.
Called “Healthy Food = Healthy Women,’’ S.A.Y. Detroit hosted its first women’s health fair and open house to increase its outreach and visibility in one of metro Detroit’s most-challenged neighborhoods while also celebrating the good work the clinic has done for the community for the past nine years.
The S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic, which is located at 211 Glendale Avenue, between Woodward and Hamilton, was established in 2008 by S.A.Y. Detroit founder Mitch Albom as the nation’s first free medical clinic for homeless and uninsured women and children. Operated by the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, the clinic records more than 4,000 patient visits annually.
Area residents who attended the free event – which was run by 20 members of Albom’s A Time to Help volunteer team — were treated to a continental breakfast sponsored in part by Avalon International Breads and Forgotten Harvest. Henry Ford Health System provided free blood pressure and BMI testing, while SASHA Center had a booth set up to distribute information about its sexual assault services nonprofit.
In addition to those donations, S.A.Y. Detroit would also like to thank Dr. Joel Kahn’s GreenSpace Café in Ferndale for distributing free vegetables; My Community Dental Centers for its free giveaways; Smiggins the Clown for entertaining and painting children’s faces; Dr. Richard Keidan of Detroit2Nepal Foundation for his assistance in organizing the event, and the Cooper Standard Foundation for its longtime sponsorship of the clinic.
“Today was a fantastic meeting of our staff, our volunteers, some previous patients and a lot of potential new patients,” Albom said. “We were amazed at how many people still didn’t know about our little gem here, but we’re really pleased at how pleased they were once they found out what it was and I think this will spread the word about our clinic. We also spread the word about healthy eating, and we introduced a lot of people who had never met each other before to one another, which is the best thing you can do.”
Dr. Peggy Richardson, the S.A.Y. Clinic’s medical director, and Dr. Keyshia Covington took residents and guests on tours of the clinic. Chris Skellenger of Buckets of Rain — an urban garden nonprofit — also informed visitors of its program, which provides homeless shelters with free produce and other food, and has one of its main gardens across the street from the clinic.
“We are trying so hard to let people know in the neighborhood and beyond what we are doing at the clinic,” Richardson said. “We have specialty care for our patients who do not have insurance. Everything that we have is free of charge for them.’’
Albom added: “We were blessed with great weather and this is exactly the kind of outreach that we want to do. We just don’t want to be inside our clinic, inside our doors, we want to be outside our doors telling our community that we can help them and we’re here for them — and we accomplished that today.”