After a long time coming, the official opening of FernCare Free Clinic Saturday marked an emotional day along with a new spirit of hope for the city and for many involved.
The clinic, which provides free medical assistance to those who are uninsured from ages 19-64, has been in the process of receiving its own building for over three years. Having operated inside the since 2010, consistent fundraising efforts turned the 459 E. Nine Mile Rd. building, donated by , into FernCare’s new home.
“This is such a big step for us, having the building and having a physical presence,” said Ann Heler, board president of FernCare. “I am without words; I am trying very hard not to cry.”
With renovations of the building originally estimated to be around $230,000, donations and volunteer hours brought the total down to $30,000.
All cubicles and office furniture were donated by Credit Union One, and the clinic’s six exam tables were donated by various residents.
“It’s amazing; we’ve seen it in bits and piece but this morning there was something new for me to see,” said Kate Baker, founding board member and Mayor pro tem. “Not only does everything work but the pharmacists and the doctors love their space and there is always some new little detail.”
Now that the clinic is officially open to the public, it is working on expanding hours and services. Currently, FernCare has about 120 regular patients, and operates strictly on funds accumulated from donations.
“This is such an expression of Ferndale and the surrounding communities; we have such energy that’s different from other places and somewhere like this is what happens with that difference,” Heler said. “I want the community to come inside and see what they did, not what we did, but what they did."
FernCare will host their next fundraiser, “Rosie’s Scare for Care”, Oct. 11-26 at in downtown Ferndale. The community is invited to stop in anytime and vote for their favorite scarecrow. All of the money that is collected by choosing FernCare’s scarecrow in the contest will go toward the clinic.
FernCare Free Clinic is located at 459 E. Mile Rd. and is currently open two Saturdays a month. Medical volunteers are greatly needed. For more information, call 248-677-2273 or visit ferncare.org.