“If my story helps just one more family or veteran or disabled resident find the help they need,” Orlando resident Cammie Tincher explained, “I am happy to share the story of how Shepard’s Hope renewed my faith in community when I needed it the most.”
In 2008, Tincher was a single, working mother of 2 boys. She had a job working in the real estate industry. At the time, the once thriving market was collapsing, leaving her unemployed and uninsured.
Shepherd’s Hope provides medical services to uninsured and underserved Central Floridians at five area health centers. 2,400 dedicated volunteers, who share the core principals of the organization, have donated over 50,000 hours to help serve members of our community.
The non-profit organization has provided over 180,000 free medical visits and patient services for qualifying individuals since it first opened its doors in 1997.
Shepherd’s Hope is a Faith Based Organization that consisted entirely of a volunteer staff from the surrounding medical community.
“These people selflessly give 3-4 hours each evening to this cause,” Tincher said. “I’m positive these volunteers had already completed a full shift or had just come from their own practices and medical office jobs to help assess the needs of the uninsured, disabled and needy in our community.”
Pastor William S. Barnes of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, realized that many people in the community were doing without proper medical attention because they did not have insurance or other resources to pay for it.
He met with a small group at his church and, with their support, introduced the ministry to his congregation. They too accepted the concept and 6 months later, Shepherd’s Hope Health Center began serving qualifying members of our community.
Today, there are 5 locations in the Central Florida area and is headquartered in Orlando and by 2013, 20,923 patient visits and medical services were provided to uninsured individuals and families.
The first patient served was a woman in Orange County who was successfully treated for cancer. Once it was determined that she was cancer free, she returned to the clinic to serve as a volunteer.
Tincher was fortunate to have had a family practitioner for many years that continued to care for her family, even without insurance. And while these visits to this doctor were routine, she had begun experiencing migraine headaches.
“My family practitioner had referred me to Florida Hospital for an MRI or a CT scan to help diagnose and treat my horrible migraines as well as other health problems,” Tincher explained. “I simply could not afford the cost of these tests and was thankfully referred to Shepherd’s Hope for help.”
The process takes a little work, but nothing unreasonable. “I was told that it may take a few tries, lining up outside by 6:00 pm each evening to be given a spot inside to be assessed and taken care of by the volunteers,” Tincher revealed. “I was very lucky to go on a day that not many others were waiting, which I heard was rare, and welcomed into the facility the same day.”
Tincher found the volunteer staff to be very courteous and helpful. She was required to complete the necessary forms, including income information.
“I was shortly thereafter seen by a volunteer physician who did a full exam,” Tincher said, “checking my heart and breathing as well as my eyes before speaking with me for a few moments about my medical history and my healthcare needs.” She then received a referral and was given a voucher signed by the attending physician for a CT Scan.
The appointment had been secured and Shepherd’s Hope had helped Tincher save nearly $2,500.00 in medical expenses. She was approved to return with any further needs for the next 12 months for herself and her sons.
Tincher was also given information for the sponsored Food Pantry, the Thrift Store and any assistance her family may need for school supplies, clothes, bedding, food. The staff even asked if the family needed beds or furniture for her children.
“I am so grateful for their kind and understanding nature,” Tincher said. She also admitted she was a bit shocked because she did not qualify for government aid. “A job does not ensure that my family’s needs were met, so Shepherd’s Hope made sure I knew not only of the medical assistance offered, but of all of the resources offered by their organization and how and where to obtain many facets of support out of kindness and their faith-based compassion for the community they serve.”
Tincher has found a better job since she needed the help of Shepherd’s Hope that includes health insurance. She now makes a point of sharing her experiences there and wants others to know the service is there is they need it.
“I also continue to pay it forward,” Tincher explained, “or in this case re-pay the gift given to me by supporting Shepard’s Hope with food, clothing, furniture and in kind donations to this wonderful organization whenever I have extra means to give.”
Shepherd’s Hope revenues are entirely dependent upon individual and corporate philanthropy and grants and receives no Federal or State funding. A team of 18 employees are in place to provide leadership, operational support, development, and case management services so that 2,400 volunteers (donating more than 50,000 hours, with a donated value of $3.1 million in 2013) are enabled to provide the best quality care to patients.
Shepherd’s Hope, Inc. is headquartered at 4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819. To learn more, visit ShepherdsHope.org or call (407) 876-6699.