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Clinic to focus on family needs

Profile image for By Karina Ramirez / Staff Writer
By Karina Ramirez / Staff Writer

Pediatric care center offers ministries, food pantry under one roof

A new clinic will soon provide pediatric care to young patients in Denton County.

First Refuge will provide medical care, immunizations, antibiotics therapy, a medication assistance program, chiropractic and massage therapy for pain management, nutrition counseling and well-child care to children up to age 18.

“Our goal is to minister to the entire person, including physical, emotional and spiritual needs, by offering those essential services to those in our community,” said Brenda Eckel, medical clinic coordinator.

Since February, Eckel and her husband, Dr. Bruce Eckel, the clinic’s medical director, have been working to ensure their building at 1701 Broadway St. is ready to accept new patients.

Earlier this year, the center was accepted as a North Texas Food Bank food partner. The clinic will keep a food pantry open three to four days a week to help families and it will pay only the shipping and handling fees, said Jodi Massey, a missions ministry assistant with First Baptist Church of Denton.

In addition to the food pantry, the center supports ministries including a community benevolence group that will provide emergency lodging, fuel, rent and utility assistance to families in need by request; a cancer support group; Christian-based counseling; and a community advocacy and resources help group.

Brenda Eckel said she looks forward to working with other local and charitable giving organizations in order to provide services the community needs.

To qualify for services, patients must reside in Denton County; have no medical insurance, have Medicaid or participate in the Children’s Health Insurance Program; and be unable to find a health care provider who accepts those programs.

Before the clinic opens, the staff will offer pre-screening interviews to accept new patients. To qualify, patients must provide proof of income (last pay stub, a Social Security supplemental security income eligibility letter, etc.), proof of residency (lease, mortgage coupon or a current utility bill in their name), driver’s license or other photo ID and proof that children reside in the household.

The clinic will not charge a fee for visits, but will ask for a minimum donation of $25. Patients will be responsible only for laboratory testing and testing supply fees.

The new charitable clinic will have an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday for medical professionals who are interested in donating their services to the clinic. Eckel said the clinic needs help from doctors, nurses, paramedics or any trained medical professional, as well as translators.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, First Refuge will have a free immunization clinic for youths 18 and younger.

To be eligible for free immunizations, a child must be uninsured or on Medicaid or CHIP, or their parent must be unable to pay for immunizations at a regular clinic. Appointments are not necessary, although they are suggested to ensure the needed inventory is available.

For more information, call First Refuge at 940-222-4178.

KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878 and via Twitter at @KarinaFRamirez.