HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - By walking through the doors, Patricia Porter has felt a weight lifted off her shoulders.
"It's been a blessing, it's helped me a whole lot," Porter said.
It is a small building on Edwards Street in Hattiesburg that is making a big impact. It is a health clinic where all the services come with a pretty incredible price tag.
"Every service you receive here is free," Edwards Street Fellowship Executive Director Ann McCullen said.
From visits and follow-ups to lab work and medicine, patients do not have to worry about thing.
McCullen has helped spearhead the effort to open the clinic, focusing on those who simply cannot make ends meet financially.
"We want to provide accessibility to the services people need," McCullen said. "The people who we see have jobs. They are what society would call the working poor. They may have a minimum wage job. They probably don't work 40 hours a week."
That is exactly where Porter found herself. As a church custodian, her health took a back seat, simply because she could not afford the medicines she needed.
That was until she found out what Fellowship Health Clinic had to offer.
Not only did she get free medical care and prescriptions, staff helped her navigate the complicated maze of getting health insurance, which she now has. A recent trip to the pharmacy was all it took for her to realize just how thankful she was.
"One of the medicines was $30, the other on was $12 and when I showed them my prescription card, it was $1. So I had to pay $2 for two of my medicines and that's a blessing," Porter said.
McCullen said many patients have not seen a doctor in decades. That means no medical history and starting from scratch.
"If we can help people be healthier then they are better caregivers for their families, they are able to get jobs," McCullen said.
None of this would have been possible without the community coming together, addressing a need and donating the materials to make it happen.
"They have been amazing. We couldn't have opened the doors without them," said McCullen.
As for Porter, she is not allowed to be a patient at the clinic anymore, which is actually a good thing and part of the overall goal.
"It won't be the last time they see me because I'm still going to come and visit," Porter said.
The clinic treats patients in Forrest and Lamar Counties by appointment only. The next screen day is March 1 in the lobby at Edwards Street Fellowship Center.