Helping Hands is a group of volunteer health professionals who have provided free healthcare to the poor and homeless in Gainesville, Florida since October, 1989. The clinic is staffed by social workers, registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physicians, and community service volunteers. Over the years, there have been 20,000 clinic visits with over 5,000 individuals seeking care. More than half those served are homeless, ranging from months to decades on the streets.
We have received recognition for our healthcare services, including a Citation in President’s Volunteer Action Award Program in 1993 and the Governor’s Points of Light award for making a significant contribution to the community in 2006. Our Board of Directors supports our emphasis on volunteerism, and forms a backdrop for our successful mission to assist homeless people.
Recently, Helping Hands received the Alachua County Medical Society’s award for Outstanding Community Service Organization.
Cynthia and Randy Stacey worked at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Gainesville, Florida in 1989. Their concern about health care for veterans, and the uninsured population in general, grew.
Together with a few Nurse Practitioners, a Social Worker, an MD, & a few other volunteers, they started a program at the local Salvation Army Lodge. It was simple: they checked blood pressures, and soaked feet.
Since the early days, volunteers strive to provide care in a non-judgmental, accepting and respectful way. Poor and homeless individuals have responded with trust, respect, and gratitude.
Brendan Shortley’s work with homeless populations began in 1984 in South Florida, through street outreach efforts in the poorest neighborhoods. He serves on the board of the North Central Florida Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry and the County Commissioners’ Health Care Advisory Board.
He came to Helping Hands as a volunteer in the early years of its humble beginnings at the Salvation Army. He began with patient check-in, processing patients, training volunteers/students, clinic management, and then became Director.
Wendy Adams was born in Connecticut, and moved to Florida in 1997. She has an A.S. (Associate in Science) degree in medical assistant technology. After successfully participating in Helping Hands Clinic’s Women’s Empowerment Program, Wendy started volunteering in early 2014. In the fall of that year, she was hired as an office assistant at the clinic. She loves her work and knows the challenges that confront homeless women.
Clinic Office Manager
Michelle was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She has worked for other clinics and healthcare systems. She now works for Helping Hands as the clinic office manager and has a strong desire to make anyone in need in the community aware of all the available resources.
Muriel Maxis was born in the Bahamas in 1973, migrated to the United States in 1975, and has resided in Florida most of her life. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Human Services. Her passion is serving those in need and believes that she has been led to the Helping Hands Clinic as a result. She is also able to empathize with those in need of healthcare because she needed lifesaving healthcare herself, requiring brain and heart surgeries. She is proud to be at Helping Hands Clinic because we provide healthcare for those with little or no income and the homeless.