Editor’s note: This is the final article highlighting Wilson County charities that will benefit from Wednesday’s The Big Papack, an online fund drive organized by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. For more information, go to www.thebigpayback.com
The Charis Health Center has offered quality healthcare and health education to uninsured and underinsured residents throughout Middle Tennessee since 2007.
A group of doctors who went to church together decided to make a sacred cause on helping those in the community by forming this nonprofit health clinic during the Great Recession. Wilson County was the only county surrounding Nashville without a health care center prior to the clinic’s formation.
The clinic began offering primary health care services on Jan. 14, 2008. Charis provides a wide range of health services, from screenings and monitoring to physicals.
The foundation of its mission is a passage from Luke 9:2, “And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”
Charis now has two locations and a mobile health clinic, with support from a small staff and a unit of dedicated volunteers.
Charis’ main clinic is on North Mt. Juliet Road and is open five days a week. The satellite clinic in the Gladeville community operates at Glade Church on Tuesdays. Charis rolls out the mobile health unit throughout the entire Mt. Juliet area, especially for various community events.
Although CHC is not attached to any of the churches in this area, they have enjoyed partnering with these churches alongside faith-based organizations to provide their services to those lacking access to health care.
“We love being able to connect through all different types of faith,” said Executive Director Lauren Smith. “Our passion for faith got us to have a great community outreach in Mt. Juliet and the rest of Middle Tennessee.”
Smith said the clinic had a difficult time though building trust throughout the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The hardest part was convincing others about the help we wanted to give them, especially those who were uncertain about the pandemic and the vaccines or even those trying to maintain their own health,” said Smith. “We never closed for one day. We worked continuously for our community during this time because we wanted to give them the best service without any qualifications or gimmicks.”
Charis would eventually receive a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines and began accepting requested appointments from those willing to get vaccinated.
“We wanted to make sure everyone has equal access to good overall health, and it does not have to be health care as a service.” said Smith. “We believe it is important for everyone in the community to have the same abilities in making their lives healthier, regardless of race or economic background or residency.”