One day the tide caused thousands of starfish to get stranded on the shore. A little girl was picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back in the ocean. The girl’s father asked his daughter, “Why are you throwing the starfish back in the ocean? There are too many of them for the few you are throwing in to matter”. The little girl, with a starfish in her hand, looked up at her dad and said, “It matters to this one”.
When looking at the alarming rates of people without health insurance (now over 42 million) or who are underinsured (about another 40 million), it may seem that any attempt to alleviate the health care crisis is pointless. Even when considering the crisis Champaign County is facing, it appears hopeless. Frances Nelson, previously the only place for the uninsured and those with Medicaid could go for care, has a waiting list of 1,800 people, which can translate into a year-long wait. With a client visit total near the 20,000 mark, they are running at full capacity. Additionally, Champaign County has a particularly high uninsured population, partially due to the mobile nature of the communities around Urbana-Champaign. This characteristic translates into approximately 65% of Frances Nelson clients lacking insurance and nearly 40% not being able to pay for the costs of their care. Imagine owning a small grocery store and 40% of your customers filling their carts with all their food needs and leaving the store without paying for anything. All of this information translates into an immeasurable number of people not receiving adequate health care. When considering that without one’s health, nothing else really matters (family, employment, education, etc.), this community finds itself with a tremendous deficit of hope.
It is in this context that the Champaign County Christian Health Center (CCCHC) was formed. Beginning with an idea in November of 2002 at a Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) conference, CCCHC has developed into a health center that provides health education, preventive services, and primary care. The mission of CCCHC is to show and share the love of Jesus Christ to our neighbors of Champaign County by providing holistic, free, and quality health care services. Holistic means that we consider the whole person regarding treatment – mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical well-being. We offer care for free because we realize the resources of the uninsured are minimal, with most of CCCHC’s clients working full time and often having more than one job just to make ends meet. Finally, we ensure, through a strong volunteer base of over 125 people, supportive donors, numerous collaborations, and community involvement, that people that come to CCCHC for care receive quality service and excellent treatment.
With CCCHC’s primary care component beginning Septermber 14th, 2004, individuals have walked through our doors, been offered prayer, and instilled with the knowledge that someone cares for them. With our planned expansion utilizing Carle’s Mobile Clinic, CCCHC hopes to have approximately 1,600 client visits a year to help alleviate some of the pressure placed on Frances Nelson as well as the local Emergency Departments of Carle and Provena Covenant hospitals. There is much to do and often few resources to do things with, but with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ leading the way, CCCHC knows that all things are possible. God Bless.