A new type of service offered at a Joplin homeless shelter seems to be having a positive impact so far. Joplin's Life Choices organization offered health screenings to several people at Watered Gardens. It's the first time this was done at the homeless shelter. The goal is to continue this program so that it can make an even bigger difference.
Charles Willard is thankful for his fiance, Abby Eullar, and their three-week-old baby daughter, Zili.
"We're never homeless with a kid," says Willard.
Willard's family may have a house, but they don't have a home.
"We don't have our own permanent address yet," says Willard.
They do have each other, and health.
"Everything is normal," says Willard.
It's peace of mind, thanks to Life Choices. The Joplin health advocacy organization parked its mobile clinic in front of Watered Gardens, and did free body mass index checks.
"They said I'm slightly above average for 5'11, but that can be fixed if I quit eating donuts," said Willard while laughing.
Nurses inside the mobile clinic also did free blood sugar and pulse screenings.
"I asked them if they could check my blood pressure, because I felt weird this morning. But I just need some sleep," says Willard.
This extra health awareness, simple as it may be, can have an impact in Willard's life. There's a good chance he wouldn't know about his health, and the importance of maintaining it, if it weren't for Life Choices,
"I just don't think about it," says Willard.
A little compassion can go a long way, and it already has for Willard's family. Willard says Life Choices helped he and his fiance know they were having a baby,
"We got our first two ultrasounds, and our first OB appointment all through Life Choices," says Willard.
There are challenges in life, and Willard says he and his fiance are working to overcome their own struggles. The mobile clinic, though, reinforces that there are resources to take care of his family, no matter what.
Watered Gardens workers also hope this mobile clinic will address health concerns and issues without people needing to go to the emergency room at hospitals.
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