Moving can be a bear, not to mention at times unbearable.
But occasionally things fall into place. That has been the case for the Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center free clinic.
When clinic officials were told in May that the congregation of Ascension Lutheran Church on Morse Road had voted to sell the Haimerl Center, where Helping Hands was founded in 2007, they:
* found a new home at nearby Epworth United Methodist Church.
* were contacted by the office manager of a Westerville medical practice that was moving, which led to the donation of much-needed exam tables and equipment.
* received word through the Ohio Association of Free Clinics that another practice, this one in Hilliard, was getting new lobby furniture and that led to the acquisition of equally necessary waiting-room chairs, tables and a loveseat.
"It's a huge blessing to have doctors' offices willing to donate to us," Helping Hands Executive Director Sarah Gray said Oct. 10 as she and volunteers unloaded a trailer of exam equipment donated by Midwest Spine & Pain so the vehicle could be used to collect lobby furniture from Northwest Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates.
"God's hand works in mysterious ways, doesn't it?" said Rich Bourgault, one of the volunteer movers and the husband of clinic founder Joyce Bourgault.
"We were very fortunate in that Northwest Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates reached out to us through the Ohio Association of Free Clinics, saying they had some office furniture to donate," Gray said. "It came at a perfect time because we're moving and need furniture."
The Ohio Association of Free Clinics is a nonprofit organization that does not provide direct health care but offers support to places that do.
"We replaced our old lobby furniture, and instead of throwing it away, we started looking for someone who could use it," Northwest Obstetrics office manager Delane Bergman said. "It wasn't in bad shape, but we were updating."
The desk chairs, exam tables and medical stools were picked up from Midwest Spine & Pain by Helping Hands volunteers Sept. 14, before the formal announcement of the move was made.
"Again, it was just perfect timing," Gray said.
"We were moving offices, expanding into a larger space and getting new furniture, moving to a location with more examination rooms, so we had extra and didn't want it to go to waste," said Christina Hikida, office manager for Midwest Spine & Pain. "Basically, we were calling around to various free clinics around town. We wanted someone who could use it and didn't mind that it was well loved.
"It worked out great for both of us."
Gray said the furniture from the Hilliard location is particularly helpful for Helping Hands.
"We don't have any of our own to bring here," she said of Epworth United Methodist Church.
"It's going to be such a gift for us and for our patients," said Chris Rudin, a volunteer at the free clinic for the past 10 years and one of those who turned out to help Oct. 10.
Rudin and other supporters of Helping Hands have been delighted at the way things have come together in advance of the relocation.
"There was some concern but never worry, because we knew somehow it would all work out," she said.
Helping Hands holds the lease through the end of October at the Haimerl Center, a former branch library that is on the market for $775,000.
The clinic's office will move to Epworth United Methodist Church, 5100 Karl Road, on Nov. 1.
The first clinic there is scheduled for Nov. 15.