Matthew 25: filling the gap

Inspired by the Gospel to provide free primary healthcare services, Matthew 25 Health and Care is a comprehensive medical and dental home for uninsured, low-income residents in Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio. The St. Joe Community Health Foundation has been a supporter of Matthew 25 since 1999. In December, the Board approved two grants providing $70,000 towards the medical director position and $70,000 in support of the dental director position.

With core values that focus on a faith-based approach to clinic operations, compassion for those with medical and dental needs, professionalism in providing quality care, individual responsibility for one’s own health, respect for all regardless of difference, and stewardship of all resources, Matthew 25 served over 5,100 vulnerable individuals that have very limited or no access to healthcare.

Meg Distler, executive director of St. Joe Foundation, shares that the Foundation was impressed with how Matthew 25 is responding to the growing demand for healthcare services by the uninsured in the community. In 2021, Matthew 25 saw a sharp increase in the number of Hispanic clients served, including many who only speak Spanish. Offering services in languages that the clients can understand is critical to providing quality care with dignity and compassion. According to Distler, Matthew 25 is seeking new ways of making interpreters and translators an important and necessary part of their healthcare services. As demographics shift and healthcare needs change, Matthew 25 continues to adapt and work toward meeting the needs of everyone they serve.

“According to the St. Joe Foundation’s Vulnerable Populations Study released in late 2018, ‘Those with the greatest financial need due to low wages or unemployment are also less likely to have health insurance,’” offers Michelle Creager, CEO of Matthew 25. “As the only full-time, no-cost safety net organization in Fort Wayne, we are filling the gap for those who truly would have nowhere else to go for medical and dental care – except for the ER. With the support from the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, Matthew 25 can serve the most vulnerable, keeping them out of the emergency room and out of the accompanying debt. An ER visit for our patient population can mean the loss of a home or vehicle, magnifying cycles of poverty for them and their family. Together with the St. Joe Foundation, Matthew 25 works to meet the medical, dental, vision, and mental health needs of the most vulnerable in our community.”