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Occupy Medical Clinic: 'You just serve people because people deserve care'

Occupy Medical Clinic treats dozens of patients every weekend. Photo by Sara Mattison

EUGENE, Ore. - A Eugene mobile clinic has become the first line of defense in helping people.

Even during Summer, the Occupy Medical Clinic never stops. It first started with the Occupy Wall Street movement several years ago. Now they treat people who can't get help on their own.

Occupy Medical says it's services save the community thousands of dollars. But more importantly, it's the thousands of lives they save every week.

The Occupy Medical bus set-up at 8th and Oak Street in Eugene helps people dealing with a range of issues. They've helped more than 11,000 patients since they first started four and a half years ago.

"People that don't work in health care don't understand at all. They think it's just lip service; its life-saving," said Clinic Manager Sue Sierralupe.

Every person on staff donates their time and skills. One patient said these volunteers helped during her pregnancy.

"They get you in really fast, get you out with what you need," said Whitney Shinkle.

On average, 40 to 60 patients are treated for diabetes, depression, and injuries.

"There's a lot of wounds from being beaten, stabbed, and once in a while shot," said Sierralupe.

And the care doesn't stop there. Food and hygiene products are also provided -- all free of charge.

"They have clothes. They have dog food. They have hand-warmers in the winter time," said Shinkle.

About half of Occupy Medical's clients are homeless. It's a free clinic, and a sample of what health care for all is about.

"We're showing people this is what it looks like. It's really different when you just serve people because people deserve care."

Occupy Medical in Eugene has about 30 to 50 volunteers on staff, but they need more. They also need supplies for their hospitality tent. That's where they feed between 200 to 300 people a week. Donations of hygiene products are always a plus. You may not realize it, but a pair of socks and a toothbrush goes a long way.

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